Hyman Bloom bio
B O R N H Y M A N M E L A M E D
B O R N I N B R U N O V I S K I , L A T V I A 1 9 1 3
1920 Immigrates to the U.S. with his parents. Joins two older brothers in Boston and, like
them, changes the family name to Bloom.
1926 Attends Washington Junior High School in the West End of Boston. Receives a
scholarship to take special classes at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. He also enrolls in
drawing classes taught by Howard Zimmerman at the West End Community Center. After his
bar mitzvah, Bloom abandons the Jewish Orthodox faith of his parents.
1927 Attends Commerce High School, near the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Around this
time, Bloom meets fellow art student Jack Levine.
1929 Attracts the attention of Denman Ross, a professor of fine arts at
Harvard University. Ross gives Bloom and Levine a weekly stipend and private Instruction,
in addition to studying with Zimmerman.
c. 1931 Travels to New York City with Zimmerman and Levine.
1933 Two sets of sketches included in An Experiment in Art Teaching at the Fogg Art
Museum, Harvard University. Bloom and Levine cease their instruction with Zimmerman and
Ross. Joins the Public Works Art Project, which ends in late 1934.
1935 Enrolls in the Massachusetts Works Progress Administration, where he is employed
intermittently until 1940.
c. 1937 First exposure to Indian music, which remains a passion for the rest of Bloom’s life.
1938 Begins to attend meetings of the Order of the Portal, a Rosicrucian order founded by
1939 Rents a small cabin in the dunes near Provincetown, Massachusetts for the summer.
Becomes familiar with Russian occultist Helena P. Blavatsky. Back in Boston attends
lectures at the Theosophical Society and at the Vedanta Center.
1941 Dorothy Miller, curator at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, visits Bloom’s studio.
1942 Miller includes thirteen paintings by Bloom in Americans 1942: 18 Artists from 9 States
at the Museum of Modern Art. Purchases Bloom’s painting The Bride. Around this time,
Bloom meets composer Alan Hovhaness, who was strongly influenced by Middle Eastern
music. The two men meet frequently until Hovhaness moves to Seattle in 1963.
1943 Along with the artist David Aronson, Bloom visits the autopsy room at Boston’s
Kenmore Hospital and begins painting corpses. Museum of Modern Art purchases his
painting The Synagogue.
1944 Begins collecting colored, iridescent glass bottles and vases.
1945 Received First Prize at an exhibition of Contemporary American Paintings at the
Worcester Museum of Art. First solo exhibition at the Stuart Art Gallery, Boston. The Addison
Gallery of American Art purchases Treasure Map.
1946 Bloom’s contract with Stuart Art Gallery ends. Begins new contract with Durlacher
Bros. in New York.
1947 Two paintings included in the opening exhibition of The Jewish Museum, New York.
1948 Starts selling works on paper through the Swetzoff Gallery, Boston.
Participates in the formation of the Modern Art Group of Boston, in protest against the
Institute of Contemporary Art. Develops and interest in psychoanalysis.
1949 First retrospective exhibition at the Boris Mirski Gallery, Boston. Receives a
Guggenheim Fellowship for “Creative Work in Painting”. Hired by the art department at
Wellesley College, where he teaches until 1951.
1950 Elaine de Kooning’s essay “Hyman Bloom Paints a Picture” is published in Art
News. Selected to represent the U.S. at the Venice Biennale, along with Willem de Kooning,
Lee Gatch, Arshile Gorky, Rico Lebrun, John Marin and Jackson Pollock. Receives grant
from the National Academy of Arts and Letters.
1951 Bloom’s father dies on February 16. Bloom is appointed “Fogg Museum Fellow is
Painting and Drawing” and “Lecturer on Fine Arts” at Harvard University. Teaches until 1953.
1953 Receives the “Academy Award in Art” from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
1954 Exhibition at Durlacher Bros., his first in six years. Meets Jerry Goldberg, who
becomes a friend and patron until his death in 1965. First museum retrospective organized
by the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. Opens in April and travels to the Albright Art
Gallery, Buffalo; the M.H. de Young Museum, San Francsico; and the Whitney Museum of
American Art, New York. The Whitney Museum purchases The Anatomist. On April 24,
Bloom participates in an experiment on the effects of LSD on Creative activity. Marries the
artist Nina Bohlen on September 29. First trip to Lubec, Maine.
1955 Bloom’s mother dies on January 19. Trip to Portland, Oregon and San Francisco, Los
Angeles and San Diego. Meets Vincent Price and Cecil B. de Mille. Trip to Lubec, Maine in
summer. Beginsdrawing fish skeletons. Meets Dr. A Stone Freedberg who becomes a friend
and ardent supporter.
1957 Bloom and Nina Bohlen separate. Exhibition of drawings organized by the Currier
Museum of Art, Manchester, NH. Travels to The Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of
Design, and the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut.
1958 Concentrates on drawing and produces few paintings over the next ten years.
1959 Awarded a $10,000 Ford Foundation Fellowship. Included in Four Boston Masters at
the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, along with John Singleton Copley, Washington Allston and
1960 Two-person exhibition, Francis Bacon – Hyman Bloom, held at The Art Galleries,
University of California at Los Angeles.
c.1960 Bloom co-founds the PanOrient Arts Foundation, devoted to the collecting, recording,
and study of South Indian classical music.
1961 Divorces from Nina Bohlen on December 7.
1962 Starts making large charcoal drawings of trees based on photographs taken in the
woods of Lubec, Maine.
1965 Jerry Goldberg dies of peritonitis at the age of 53.
1968 Durlacher Bros. closes and Bloom joins the Terry Dintenfass Gallery. The Drawings of
Hyman Bloom, organized by the University of Connecticut Museum of Art at Storrs, travels to
the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Boston
University School of Fine and Applied Arts Gallery.
1971 In November, opens an exhibition of drawings at Terry Dintenfass Gallery, his first
gallery show in New York since 1954.
1972 Travels to India with Nina Bohlen and James Rubin. The American Academy of Arts and
Letters purchases Mortal Parts and donates it to the Mead Art Museum, Amherst
College. Bloom moves his studio to 237 Hampshire Street, Cambridge, above the restaurant
Legal Sea Foods. A mural-size photograph of one of his fish drawings decorates the
restaurant’s dining room.
1974 Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
1975 First exhibition of paintings in twenty years at Terry Dintenfass Gallery.
1978 Bloom marries Stella Caralis, whom he first met in 1956, on July 20.
1979 Included in Boston Expressionism: Hyman Bloom, Jack Levine and Karl Zerbe at the
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.
1980 A fire at Legal Sea Foods Restaurant destroys Bloom’s studio on January 16. Because
Stella Bloom has seen the fire in a dream a few days before, they had moved most of the
paintings out. The fire destroyed Bloom’s books, papers and a few drawings.
1983 Kennedy Galleries in New York begins to represent Bloom’s work. Bloom and Stella
buy a house in Nashua, New Hampshire.
1984 Bloom is elected to the National Academy of Design.
1992 First museum exhibition in twenty-four years, Hyman Bloom: Paintings and Drawings,
opens at The Art Gallery, University of New Hampshire in January.
1994 Trip to Arizona with Stella.
1996 The Spirits of Hyman Bloom: Sixty Years of Painting and Drawing ispresented by Fuller
Museum, Brockton, Massachusetts.
1997 Three-week trip to Europe with Stella. They travel to Athens, Salonika, Zurich and
Colmar (to see Matthias Grünewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece).
1999 Bloom becomes a full member of the National Academy of Design when his drawing
Landscape #4 enters the Academy’s collection. Receives the Thomas R. Proctor Prize for
Jew with Torah at the 176th Annual Exhibition of the National Academy of Design.
2002 Builds a new studio adjacent to his house in Nashua. Color & Ecstasy: The Art of
Hyman Bloom is presented by the National Academy of Design. Included in the exhibition
Painting in Boston, 1950-2000 at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park.
2006 The Danforth Museum presents Hyman Bloom: A Spiritual Embrace.
2009 Bloom dies on August 26. Hyman Bloom: A Spiritual Embrace travels to Yeshiva
University, New York, opening on September 13. The film Hyman Bloom: The Beauty of all
Things is released.
S E L E C T E D C O L L E C T I O N S
Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, MA
Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts, Little Rock
Art Institute of Chicago
Bowdoin College Museum of Art
DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA
Danforth Museum of Art, Framingham, MA
Davis Museum, Wellesley College, Wellelsey, MA
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC
Jewish Museum, New York
Los Angeles County Museum
Minnesota Museum of Art, St. Paul
Museum of Art, University of New Hampshire
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Museum of the National Academy of Design, New York
Neuberger Museum, Purchase, NY
Princeton Museum of Art, Princeton University
Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
Skirball Museum, Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles, CA
Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago
Smith College Art Museum, Northampton, MA
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah, GA
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
William Benton Museum of Art, University of Connecticut, Storrs
Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA
Yeshiva University Museum, New York