The tenth in TheSonnet Series, a group of 12 sketches for paintings, this work focuses on a tenement building in the center of the composition. The corner of the building creates a dividing line down the center of the work, emphasized by areas of light and dark. Light hits the side of the building facing the viewer, illuminating it a bright white, while the other is cast in shadow. A bridge arcs over rippling water, connecting the building to the tree on the right, which dwarfs the building, each cluster of leaves a tree in itself. Bluemner envisioned the series as three groups of four works, each group defined by color. The final set of four would showcase his “ecstatic” reds.
Bluemner created TheSonnet Series based on 12 sonnets by the poet Eirene Mungo-Park. He began work on the drawings for “The 12 Sonnet Paintings” on March 8, 1935, and although he recorded their completion in his painting diary on October 28, 1935, five of the works are dated 1936, suggesting he continued to refine them. He made pages of notes while he worked on the series. These notes include preparatory sketches, illustrating his process as he clarified each composition. Bluemner conceived of the paintings as 15 x 20 inches, three times the size of the finished sketches, but would not live long enough to realize them.
John Davis Hatch, Lenox, MA;
[Sid Deutsch Gallery, New York];
Francoise and Harvey Rambach, New Jersey;
[Martha Parrish & Jim Reinish, Inc., New York];
Private Collection, California;
[James Reinish & Associates, Inc., New York];
Washington D.C. The Corcoran Gallery of Art. Oscar Bluemner: Landscapes of Sorrow and Joy (December 10, 1988-February 19, 1989); Fort Worth. The Amon Carter Museum (March 18-May 14, 1989); Trenton. New Jersey State Museum (June 17-September 3, 1989);p. 77, ill. p. 81, cat. no. 123.
Tulsa. Philbrook Museum of Art. Oscar Bluemner: Forces of Nature and Industry. March 19-November 6, 2016.
Corpus Christi. The Art Museum of South Texas. Masterpieces of American Modernism from the Vilcek Collection of American Art. September 13, 2018-January 6, 2019.