Hyman Bloom

American, 1913-2009

Skeleton in a Red Dress

c.1939-1945 Oil on canvas

A 2002 exhibition of Hyman Bloom’s work at the National Academy of Design was entitled “Color and Ecstasy,” a clever and apt description of Bloom’s work.  Over the course of a long career, Hyman Bloom developed a style that conveyed an intense emotional state combined with an aura of the deeply unsettled.  His works were drawn from the imagination, rather than direct observation, and looked to Jewish mystical traditions, Eastern religions, theosophy, the occult, and the body.  The artist’s vibrant brushstrokes and experimentations with color were a means to express his ideas on life and death, and even his graphic explorations of decaying corpses observed at Boston’s Kenmore Hospital morgue in the 1940s are grotesquely beautiful in their vivid swirling colors.  Skeleton in a Red Dress reflects Bloom’s preoccupation with mortality and the mysteries that lay beyond this world.

Gift of Drs. Fran and Tim Orrok, 2009.14