The Saint Louis–born painter Albert Bloch moved his family from New York City to Germany in 1909, starting the most transformative period of his artistic career. There he befriended the modernist artists Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc, who influenced his development in painting, drawing, and printmaking. Kandinsky invited Bloch to become the only American artist to exhibit with Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), the important Munich-based group that focused on art’s spiritual aspects.
What makes a work of art spiritual?
Bloch typically included abstract religious imagery in his paintings. In this work, constellations of light evoke associations with the stars of heaven, the star of Bethlehem, and the falling stars of John’s apocalyptic book of Revelation. The shapes of these sparkling lights in the sky somehow feel both material and spiritual. In his poem “To My Palette,” Bloch described blue as a spiritual color, but this nocturnal vision of Munich appears, at first glance, to be firmly grounded on Earth.
Oil on canvas mounted on hardboard
Museum purchase, American Art Trust Fund
37 1/4 x 41 1/4 in. (94.6 x 104.8 cm)