American painter of Latvian birth. He went to the USA when he was seven and received his early artistic training at the West End Community Center in Boston. He studied art with Denman Ross (1853–1935) of Harvard University, as a fellow pupil of Jack Levine. Among the paintings that he saw at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, he was particularly attracted to the thickly painted and richly coloured works of Georges Rouault and Chaïm Soutine. The first recognition of his expressionistic canvases came with his inclusion in the Americans 1942 exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Although superficially similar to Abstract Expressionism in their use of strong colours, thickly applied paint and large scale, Bloom’s paintings took as their subject the human form, as a means of commenting on the human condition, for example Apparition of Danger (1951; Washington, DC, Hirshhorn). His interest in mysticism was influenced by William Blake and by the philosophy of Spinoza, Kant and Ouspensky. He also produced paintings of Judaic religious life, such as Synagogue (1940; New York, MOMA). In later years his work became much brighter and richer in colour, his interest in aspects of Abstract Expressionism more clearly grafted on to recognizable forms.
David M. Sokol
From Grove Art Online
© 2009 Oxford University Press