Gloucester: Landscape with Farm Buildings
41 cm x 51 cm (16 1/8 in. x 20 1/16 in.)
(Smorgon, Russia, 1906 - 1992, New Milford, Connecticut)
North America, American
Medium and Support:
Oil on canvas
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Michener Acquisitions Fund, 1969
Erect, truncated ship riggings against a foreboding sky; severe lines of architectonic forms; a contrast of caged and free chickens near a thorn bush in the center foreground: these introduce slight unrest into an otherwise traditional bucolic New England scene.
In just a few colors—black, red, grey, green, and yellow—Blume creates dramatic contrasts, yet his agile composition keeps the eye moving from one strong form to the next, ultimately allowing a sense of resolution and balance.
Ten years after he completed this painting, Blume’s interest in balance and contrast came to fruition when he spent two years in Italy. His subsequent works of social surrealism sounded political outcry against oppression in Fascist Europe. As Picasso’s Guernica of 1937 raged against Franco of Spain, Blume’s The Eternal City in the same year raised a shrill cry against Mussolini, and simultaneously issued a warning sign to a detached America.