Hyman Bloom quotes:

  • “The artist is the channel. In working on a painting over a period of time he creates a painting out of concentration and an inner directed search, allowing it to become manifest through intensity of focus. The artist’s reward is pleasure, ecstasy from contact with the unknown—but that does not quite cover the subject.  It is essential to exercise control. The old masters created a synthesis of form, color, content and abstract design. The synthesis required skill—mastery is what you look for—the flowering of the human potential.”  -quoted in Dorothy Abbott Thompson,  The Spirits of Hyman Bloom: The Sources of His Imagery
  • “A painting should be inclusive, it should synthesize the developments of the Western tradition — perspective, rich patterns, etc. — not reject them.  This richness allows for continuing interest.” -quoted in Bookbinder,  Boston Modern
  • “I tried Abstract Expressionism and came as close to it as I wanted to, but I thought that it was mostly emotional cartharsis with no intellectual basis.  It had no emotional control.  All that thrashing around seemed infantile and beside the point.” -quoted in Isabelle Dervaux,  Color and Ecstasy in the Art of Hyman Bloom
  • On music and painting: “The music arouses feelings I would like to communicate in painting — an aesthetic experience through one sense expressed through another.” -quoted in Isabelle Dervaux,  Color and Ecstasy in the Art of Hyman Bloom
  • On Abstract Expressionism “What I was trying to create was a complex picture in the classical sense; a work with depth and subject matter that was readable and over which I had exerted control.  I thought of art as elevating, and I didn’t think Jackson Pollock even had a foot on the ladder.”  -quoted in Dorothy Abbott Thompson,  The Spirits of Hyman Bloom: The Sources of His Imagery
  • “If you’re a really good young artist, art school won’t ruin you.”   -Bloom, speaking to Lois Tarlow; quoted in Bookbinder,  Boston Modern, p 160.


Quotes about Hyman Bloom & his work:

  • “Rare, unusual, brilliant and deep.  Also quite lovable.” – Brian O’Doherty (email exchange with author, July, 2014)
  • “There was nobody like him. Every major museum in the United States has Hyman Bloom paintings. I firmly believe that he will be considered not only a great American painter, but a great contemporary painter.’’ — Katherine French, Danforth Museum,  Boston Globe obituary, August 28, 2009.
  • “…certainly one of the best post-war American painters, one whose work was, through accident of timing, eclipsed by Abstract Expressionism.  I have no doubt that he will resume his proper place in the history of American art.’’  — Pamela Allara,   Brandeis University,  Boston Globe obituary, August 28, 2009.
  • “…he’s the most beautiful man I know in the whole world except for Ornette Coleman.”   “Now, nobody knows he comes to New York. He comes to New York, and he stays here. He’ll go to the Met, or he’ll go out and hear Greek music. Or he loves Indian music. And he stays maybe two or three days. But he’s never here, sort of.  And he keeps me up all night. He likes to talk, and he’s interested in everything. He’s not a recluse at all. He’s so special. I can’t tell you.  He’s an extraordinary man.”    — Terry Dintenfass, 1974, excerpt from the Smithsonian’s Oral History series.
  • ” — the subject of a painting by Hyman Bloom is as inseparable from its physical aspects as is the work of Grunewald or Rembrandt. Like these artists,  he seems to think with his brush; complex philosophical implications are conveyed in the action of painting.”  – Elaine DeKooning, Art News, Jan 1950
  • “A painter of extraordinary courage… [Bloom] asks for observers who match him a little in daring, who are willing to suffer a certain outrage to their accustomed feeling for the sake of a larger, new poetic experience.” — Robert Taylor, Boston Globe, January 14, 1979
  • “Needing to explore his subject to the fullest, Bloom has developed many of his ideas into a series of paintings. There are Jewish subjects, chandeliers, Christmas trees, archeological treasures, skeletons, corpses and cadavers, medium paintings, still-life paintings, landscapes, dreamscapes and seascapes. Bloom continues to be concerned with the occult, with metamorphosis and ambiguity, and with the point at which the real and the imaginary combine. He challenges conventional distinctions between birth and death, animate and inanimate, tangible reality and visions of the mind. His work deals with the impermanence of things—the transitoriness of life, human dignity and sorrow. Since Bloom’s character from his earliest years was shaped by forces that have led to alienation, a sense of loss, and anxiety, creating art became for him a requirement for survival, an assertion of purposiveness over the forces of negation. He believes his image making to be less a matter of choice than of personal necessity. Aware that life is a fearful condition filled with tension and paradox, Bloom has found his greatest hope of resolution in the creation of art.”  —Dorothy Abbott Thompson,  Hyman Bloom, 1996
  • “It is not to be missed. I was particularly swept away by the landscapes which remind one of Altdorfer, Bosch, Bresdin, Blake and all other Gothic and romantic masters of dense detail and mystical inspiration, But after a visit to the San Francisco Museum… [they],.. will remind one forever of Hyman Bloom.”   —Alfred Frankenstein, San Francisco Chronicle, July 10, 1968
  • “Bloom is not only a master craftsman, he also has something to say…. These drawings far transcend any given time or place. Bloom is speaking of the woods of life, with all the perils and pitfalls they hold. Yet somehow through the tangle, a path or clearing, or merely a shaft of light seems to point the way.”  —Edgar Driscoll, Boston Sunday Globe
  • “The Corpse of an Elderly Woman surrounded by the white grave clothes placed on Stygian black [is] a dynamic piece of design and symbolism. After a moment of repugnance., one becomes aware that within one artist’s seeming absorption in death and decay is contained the resurrection—the relative unimportance of fugitive flesh as opposed to the indestructibility of the spirit.”   —Joe Gibbs, Art Digest, 1946
  • Regarding The Hull: “…a lot of what is on this canvas is not intended to be descriptive. It is instead about paint. Paint in streaming, iridescent colors — crimson, orange, pink, turquoise, white, purple, and green. The paint is so freely handled, so wristily brushed on, that it has a delirious, almost ecstatic quality. It can make you think of Francis Bacon’s stated wish to paint the human scream in the same way Monet painted water lilies, or of countless other 20th-century conflations of horror and beauty. But Bloom was a one-man movement: All comparisons feel awkward.”     — Sebastian Smee,  Boston Globe, August 6, 2012