Norman Bluhm (1921-1999)
signed, titled and dated 'Bluhm 58 LAVA' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
72 x 62¼ in. (183 x 153 cm.)
Painted in 1958.
Galleria Levi, Milan-Rome
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Lot Essay

Please note that this work will be included in the forthcoming Norman Bluhm, Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings edited by John Yau.

"Bluhm is the only artist working in the Idiom of abstract-expressionism who has a spirit similar to that of Pollock, which is to say that he is out--beyond beauty, beyond composition, beyond the old-fashioned kind of pictorial ambition." (Frank O'Hara, 1962 as quoted in F. O'Hara, Standing Still and Walking in New York, New York, 1983).

Between the years of 1958-1959 the stars were perfectly aligned for the great American artist Norman Bluhm whose compositions dating to this period are legendary accomplishments. It is during this time that Bluhm created his distinctive style, a unique vocabulary of hot and cold color flung and splattered with a perfect balance of controlled velocity, vision and articulation. There is a clarity within these aggressive pictures and a sensitivity that together create a beautiful duality of lightness and monumentality that is deeply felt as much as it is perceived. Bluhm's Lava, an undeniable masterpiece, feels as fresh today as it must have the day it was created, the work is immediate and authentic, created with a strong sense of purpose and overflowing confidence and passion--exceptional qualities that stuck with Bluhm throughout his distinguished career.

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