Selected by Ray Waterhouse

NORMAN BLUHM, Untitled, 1964


The career of Bluhm provides an interesting insight into some of the workings of the art market and values. Bluhm was a hugely talented abstract artist whose work I admire. We've been pleased to acquire paintings by him and also work with his widow and daughter for the last few years by offering works from the estate. Bluhm worked in New York and Paris in the 1950s and 1960s – the main period of creativity for Abstract Expressionism – and he showed with Leo Castelli the pre-eminent dealer and the market force behind some of the great Abstract Expressionists. His paintings of this period are bold, innovative and beautiful, yet his career never really took off. He was just too young to be part of the first wave of Abstract Expressionists with Pollock and de Kooning but he shared a studio in Paris with Sam Francis and was close friends with Joan Mitchell and Jean-Paul Riopelle. He lost a brother in WWII and was himself severely wounded after 44 missions as a bomber pilot and this naturally had an effect on his outlook. Evidently he was not the easiest artist for gallerists to deal with, and his career and prices have suffered.  


This work from 1964 is a great example of his mature style, mounted on canvas and well framed and is well priced.  His larger work from the late 50s has made $1.14m and $722,000 at auction, his work is represented in museums of the stature of The Met, and a major retrospective opened at the Newark Museum just before the lockdown started. We are not his major dealer, but we hope in a small way to help establish his position as a significant artist of the second phase of Abstract Expressionism.


NORMAN BLUHM  (American 1921-1999)


Oil, acrylic and gouache on paper laid on canvas

40 x 27 in (102 x 68.5 cm)
Signed & dated ‘64 lower right


June 23, 2020