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October 20 -
December 20, 2017
Autumn Acquisitions

Emil James Bisttram

(b. 1895 Nadlac, Hungary d. 1976 Taos, New Mexico)

Emil Bisttram’s style over his long and illustrious career ranged from representational,expressionist, neo-classicist, cubist, realist, to abstract.  The same breadth of vision guided his life. Painter, muralist, philosopher, educator and public-minded intellectual, Bisttram was moved by an intense vision of the boundless growth potential of mankind through the understanding of the arts.

Emil James Bisttram was born in a small village on the Hungarian-Rumanian border on April 7,1895.  The Bisttram family immigrated to America in 1906, and Emil became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1920.

Bisttram experimented with abstract work from the beginning of his career, but the dominant theme was representational until he became fascinated with Indian art and culture.

In the summer of 1938, in the city of Santa Fe, Bisttram and Raymond Jonson founded the Transcendental movement in New Mexico.  The group’s goal was to carry painting beyond the appearance of the physical world to create forms, which were universal and timeless.  To differentiate their aims from those of the non-objective painters they chose the name “Transcendental.” Always actively involved in maintaining a viable and united art community in Taos, Bisttram founded the Taos Artists Association in 1952.

Emil Bisttram’s tireless journey as artist, educator and philosopher ended on February 26, 1976 following a ten-year battle with cancer, but not before he left an indelible mark on the history of American art.


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