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The Missing Irascible

FRITZ BULTMAN April 3 – May 11, 2013


FRITZ BULTMAN The Missing Irascible April 3 – May 11, 2013

Essay by Charles A. Riley II, PhD

136 East 74th Street, New York, NY, 10021

+1 212 472 7770 info@edelmanarts.com www.edelmanarts.com


Fritz Bultman in his studio, 1947. Photo taken by Maurice Berezov.


Bright Logic The Legend of Fritz Bultman

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“ Would your hope make sense If today were that moment of silence, Before it break and drown? -W.H. Auden, “Under Sirius”

hich Fritz Bultman were you expecting? The highly regarded Irascible who downed scotch with Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline and Willem de Kooning? The philosophical scion of southern gentry, along with Robert Motherwell the only other upper-class outlier in The Club? The ebullient father and husband of one of the great muses of the art world or the barely closeted gay wit used mercilessly by Tennessee Williams as source material? The painter, the sculptor, the collagist or the interior designer and part-time architect? Even regional identification is a problem. A familiar name in his native New Orleans, he sought creative refuge in Europe, became a leader in the arts community of Provincetown at its height and, with Motherwell, Hans Hofmann, Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko, Richard Lindner and Giorgio Cavallon was a bright star in the constellation of artists living in a tight neighborhood on the Upper East Side. He could be a fearless paint-slinger or a conscience-addled second-guesser who scraped back days of progress in bursts of doubt, as diligently productive in the studio as a metronome unless paralyzed by psychoanalysis and a loathing of dealers and their deadlines. Deep down, he was committed to an aesthetic of “fullness” and the ideally positive “equivalence” (his terms) between art and nature but like so many of the Abstract Expressionists he boasted a wide and violent destructive streak. As the critic Belle Krasne wrote in an Art Digest review in 1950, Bultman’s annus mirabilis, his paintings had a “blood on the moon fierceness that strikes at the heart.”1 This overdue and welcome synoptic exhibition of Bultman’s potent work re-ignites the fuse of an art-historical time bomb, returning to the rivalries and arguments that made studio life in New York in the late Forties and Fifties so explosive. Nothing captures the imagination more seductively than the lure of a “Golden Age” and the mythic aura of the Abstract Expressionist moment takes its place among history’s epochal bursts of genius (alongside Florence in the High Renaissance, St. Petersburg under the Czarina Catherine, Paris of the Jazz Age, fin-de-siecle Vienna, Tang dynasty Chang’an and Brecht’s Berlin). For all the best reasons, including talent, intellect and influence, Bultman held his inner-rung place in the charmed conclave that included Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner,


Franz Kline, David Smith, Tony Smith, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Willem de Kooning, Adolph Gottlieb, Clyfford Still and others who called him a friend. The baroque particulars of Bultman’s biography were, as Tennessee Williams recognized, stage-worthy. Born in 1919 to the prosperous House of Bultman, the largest funeral parlor in New Orleans, his conversion to art occurred at age thirteen when Morris Graves was a houseguest. The two would draw in Audubon Park. While his son Johann insists that Fritz deplored New Orleans, one of the strongest statements he ever made on counterpoint, an insight into his unusual color combinations, draws on a memory of Louisiana: “They try to burn the swamps down there and what appears to be a sheet of water will be burning with very high flames against a blue sky. And just the sight of this I find terribly exciting. I don’t know anything else that seems to me as beautiful as that.” The New Orleans connection is memorialized not just in painting but in a play. Having dossed at Bultman’s apartment in New York for most of 1942, and trashed it, Williams mooched shamelessly off the family in New Orleans, and wrote Suddenly Last Summer about the mansion with its immense, jungle-like conservatory garden. In it the obligatory Williamsian faded delusionary belle, Mrs. Venable, invokes the family’s sole artistic genius: “Most people’s lives – what are they but trails of debris, each day more debris, more debris, long, long trails of debris with nothing to clean

Fritz Bultman in his Provincetown studio with Solar and Sleeper I .

it all up but, finally, death…(We hear lyric music). My son, Sebastian, and I constructed our days, each day, we would – carve out each day of our lives like a piece of sculpture – Yes, we left behind us a trail of days like a gallery of sculpture.”2 During high school Bultman traveled to Germany, ostensibly to study at the Bauhaus, which had been closed by the Nazis. He wound up living in the Munich home of Maria (“Miz”) Hofmann, whose husband Hans, the single most important connection in this story, was in New York, already galvanizing his reputation as the master pedagogue of the greatest generation of American art. After an abrupt withdrawal from the “New Bauhaus” in Chicago in 1937, where Laszlo Maholy-Nagy was in charge, Bultman became the prize protege of Hofmann in New York. “I consider him the most brilliant of all the many students I have had…He must be considered today the most outstanding, the most sincere and the most disciplined young artist of the entire younger generation and this in the international sense,” the master wrote in a recommendation letter from 1950. Hofmann is the direct link to Picasso, Braque, Leger and Matisse, who painted side-by-side with Hofmann at the Academie de la Grand Chaumiere and on the balcony of the Hotel Bison. Hofmann taught the insights into color he traded with Robert and Sonia Delaunay, and his first exhibition in Munich shared wall space with Beckmann, Bonnard, Cezanne, Munch and Vuillard, and who brought Paris and Munich to


Artists in “Forum 49” exhibition, Gallery 200, Provincetown, Massachusetts, 1949. Front row, left to right: George McNeil, Adolph Gottlieb, Kahlil Gibran, Karl Knaths, Weldon Kees, David Heron, Giglio Dante; middle row, left to right: Lawrence Kupferman, Ruth Cobb, Lillian Ames, Howard Gibbs, Lawrence Campbell, Judith Rothschild, Blanche Lazzell; back row, left to right: Perle Fine, John Grillo, William Freed, Leo Manso, Minna Citron, Peter Busa, Boris Margo, Fritz Bultman, Morris Davidson, Fritz Pfeiffer. On the wall (left to right) are three paintings by Karl Knathsand one each by Fritz Bultman, Jackson Pollock, Weldon Kees, and Judith Rothschild.

Fritz Bultman with Lee Krasner, 1958.

Provincetown. The term Abstract Expressionist was coined with reference to Hofmann, by critic Robert Coates in his review of a 1946 exhibition. By that time, Bultman was more than just an epigone. The balanced way in which Hofmann’s combined nature, the artist and the medium was further developed by Bultman, who inherited the perception of the relationships between overlapping planes or the figure and ground (their life drawings are at times so similar as to be indistinguishable in style, and Bultman’s theory of “fullness” has everything to do with the way in which Hofmann emphasized the information that surrounded the model). By 1940 he was close friends with fellow Hofmann student Lee Krasner and her future husband Jackson Pollock, and shortly after was exhibiting at the Kootz Gallery. In 1943, he married Jeanne, a leggy beauty whose parents owned a general store in Nebraska. She was a favorite model of the Hofmann circle. With their sons Anthony and Johann they began to split the year between Manhattan and Provincetown. He and Tony Smith designed and built an amazing studio using a rhomboid form and pentagonal extension. “Sacred geometry,” ventures Bultman’s son Johann as he opens the studio, although he points out that Bultman moved his easel into a nearby building because the slanting panels on the walls posed optical difficulties behind a rectangular canvas on an easel. The pastoral rhythms of studio, beach, garden and friendship were a tonic to Bultman. He neither drove nor biked, but strolled downtown to the grocery or the homes of Hofmann, Motherwell, Kline, de Kooning and so many writers. In New York he was on the frontlines. He was a signatory to the protest letter that made the front page of the New York Times in 1950 in which the Irascibles took the Metropolitan Museum to task for its tame choice in contemporary art. By then he had secured his standing in the group, especially with a high-impact solo exhibition of fourteen mostly black-and-white paintings at the Hugo Gallery from January 30 through February 19, 1950 and then, back to back, in Kootz’s Black or White, an exhibition from February 28

From left to right, Fritz Bultman, Jeanne Bultman, Tony Smith, Jane Smith, Karl Knaths, unknown, unknown, Weldon Kees, c. 1949.


to March 20 the same year, (the historic Kootz show included and iconographical subject of Actaeon (Titian and Rembrandt Baziotes, de Kooning, Gottlieb, Hofmann, Motherwell, Tobey, offer major paintings on the theme), which like Ulysses for Braque, Dubuffet, Miro, Mondrian and Picasso). James Joyce or the Nibelungen for Wagner, is the crucial myth More celebrated for its physical and emotional excesses of Bultman’s career. Changed by Diana into a stag after he has than its cerebral substance, Ab Ex continues to appeal to lovers glimpsed her bathing, the hunter Actaeon is torn apart by his of raw drama through scale, gesture and chromaticism, all own dogs. One of the best readers of Bultman’s iconology is strengths of Bultman’s repertoire but not at the expense (as in Evan R. Firestone, who focuses on the Ovidean tale and its Pollock’s case) of thought. Contemporaries ranked him with biographical relation to the paintings of the Forties in a superb Motherwell, who studied philosophy in graduate school, for article which reads in part, “Bultman’s interest in the Actaeon erudition, although Bultman read with the zeal reserved for myth had personal implications for him that far exceeded its the autodidact. Given his immense library and encyclopedic metaphoric associations with art. Actaeon was physically torn to curiosity, it is unlikely we pieces, and Bultman suffered the could over-interpret a Bultman emotional equivalent.”4 Firestone canvas. The rich iconology of proceeds to enumerate at grim his meditations on Ovid alone length the troubled relationship rewards the effort to unravel the between Bultman and his father loaded cascades of paint and and his anguish over his sexuality. ideas that make this focused but In this exhibition, the Actaeon packed exhibition so formidable. allusion is present in Doorkeeper In Bultman’s formulation, II (1947), a palimpsest of “images are glimpsed through caroming lines and pentimenti images” while ideas and references so distressed that it calls to mind similarly multiply. Bultman’s the heavily revised Ocean Park bookshelves in Provincetown series of Richard Diebenkorn. and in his townhouse on East Do not miss the radiant flicker of 95th Street were packed with crimson on the right hand side, the well-thumbed volumes that glowing like the last live embers impressed the writer Donald dying on the ashes of a fire. Even Windham and other guests. a glorious midsummer diary Several volumes should be pulled entry about his garden’s yield for insight: Most of C.G. Jung, and late afternoons on the beach Oswald Spengler’s Decline of the (according to his son, it was his West, Alfred North Whitehead’s habit to join the family after a day Science in the Modern World, in the studio) takes the cue of the volumes of poetry by Swinburne, Doorkeeper II, 1947, oil on panel, 35 x 30 in (88.9 x 76.2 cm) setting Sirius to invoke, morbidly Byron, Keats, Shelley and, most but revealingly, the story of important, Hart Crane. Rhapsodic Romantics who courted the Actaeon. In this prose poem worthy of Hart Crane, Bultman edge of decadence, they match Bultman’s aesthetic in this way: slants from Orion to Actaeon, invoking Sirius, brightest star in The poetry of thought arises from lyricism, whether in prose, the sky which in summer does not appear at night but adds its verse or painting. George Steiner’s most recent book celebrates “heat “ to the day (“seirios” in Greek means “scorcher,” why we the ways in which “thought is sung.” As Steiner writes, “The refer to the “dog days”): unison of poetry, music and metaphysics continues to haunt philosophy like a fraternal ghost.”3 Cool breeze, the Dog has set- and suddenly there is a chill wind – Certain artists, musicians and poets emerge from deep Goat Pan is dead- the tent of summer is still spread wide; another thinking to perform their improvisations unscathed. In his art, 40 days – but the fierce fingers of summer relax into a loving handBultman assails such daunting themes as eros et thanatos (life salad will grow again and we will hear the locust and the dawn and death), metamorphoses both natural and supernatural, breeze will be cool-the golden children of summer beaches. Pan and the underlying mathematics of phenomena as presumably escapes from classrooms and their golden stomachs will forget the personal as beauty (he would not be surprised today to see how sun that they now rival-How long will the seas stay warm and curve “king algorithm” reigns over our computer use, shopping habits, to the slow furrowing of its surface? That surface that carries me investments and even voting patterns). The paradigm for this is weightless but moving – exhaling where it joins the sky. Actaeon’s a series of paintings and drawings on the immense psychological remains are eaten by the cutworms and the golden spiders, by the


Gravity of Nightfall, 1961, oil on canvas triptych, 96 x 144 in (243.8 x 365.8 cm)

nosy small animal looking for burrows by the many small tasks before the sunsets due west – Actaeon’s dogs unleashed and masterless have gone beyond the seas and now the Scorpion begins to reign in heaven. The exhaltations of earth last till noon; it is a sound until the cool breeze and the cool water and the cool land marry into blueness. In his writings of this kind as in his painting, Bultman is an advocate of a “fullness” that impressed Hofmann for its sincerity. As the studio notes record, “I am involved in contours and the possibility of a painting being conceived as totally positive. Each shape is full. Each division cuts off a piece that is complete and total. But the whole is spatial and full.” The contours are experienced as curves to be pursued in Bultman’s paintings. The rope leitmotif has an almost Wagnerian priority, announcing his individual presence as forthrightly as the curling ribbon of de Kooning or the wrist-snap skeins of Pollock. One historic source may be the ropes that snake their way through Fernand Leger’s paintings and murals from the Thirties all the way through the Fifties (many of which Bultman would have seen in both New York and Paris). The artist himself singles out “the twist that the figure takes into space” in a notebook entry, relating it not merely to the female figures on the beach or

assiduously rendered in the life class (“Drawing the body is tonic for me…I would rather look at people than art or landscape”), or as a visit to the home in Provincetown affirms, the dipping flight of gulls and gannets, the arc of whales breaching in view of his beach, the convolution of branch among the low canopy of shad and cedar trees surrounding his house and studio, or the tidal channels among the dunes. Suddenly, like the endless knot (pan chang) of Chinese mythology or the interlacing cordons de l’eternidad of Moorish architecture at the Alhambra, you realize the rope leads everywhere on the canvas and outside. It is the legato guide to the matrix into which Bultman’s ardent sense of “fullness” may be poured, a daring counter-argument to perspective’s recession, Sartrean nihilism, Deconstruction’s negative bias, Minimalist denial, and Postmodernist irony. The recoil of the rope, as it billows and falls through Ovidean variations, is replete with color, incident, texture, gesture. Grab the rope like Ariadne’s thread and head into Gravity of Nightfall (1961), one of the highlights of this exhibition. It has the atmospheric capacity to envelope the viewer, derived in part from its potent scale but also from its brooding palette and a compositional device known to early Renaissance illuminators, the form of the boustrophedon. It is usually used for a narrative


sequence which begins on the upper left then flows first horizontally to the right and then turns downward and toward the left again. In this case it follows the course of a black, ropelike or riparian current whose andante undulation is answered several times. A lightly painted white echo surrounds it while, on the right side, although cropped, it is reflected, inverted and opened. Hold tight and travel the rope further into Third (from the same year), and see how Bultman lets the black stroke run dry like the fei bai (“flying white” stroke) of a Chinese calligrapher and yet paradoxically drip from its bottom edge. Its play of color over color is reminiscent of Gorky, while those fleshy whites laced with pink are similar to de Kooning’s mixed tones. Bultman adroitly relates his optical intuition of “fullness” to an art historical precedent that had gone in the opposite direction: “All painting until now has relied on cubist or precubist recession of forms into space. I sense the retina as full and the painting must be full with the unmeasured coincidence of vision.” Newman and Pollock contemporaneously assailed the physical boundaries of the canvas to produce side-to-side and top-to-bottom suggestions of that “on and on” Kantian sublime. Bultman’s advancing colors leap from the plane to invade the viewer’s space, mirroring nature rather than shunning it. When Meyer Schapiro in 1969 labored to set down a critical account of the way in which abstraction might address this “equivalence,” he concluded his influential essay on “Field and Vehicle in Image-Signs” (1969) in a similar vein: In abstract painting the system of marks, strokes, and spots and certain ways of combining and distributing them on the field have become available for arbitrary use without the requirement of correspondences of signs. The forms that result are not simplified abstracted forms of objects; yet the elements applied in a nonmimetic, un-interpreted whole retain many of the qualities and formal relationships of the preceding mimetic art…In this construction one can see not only the artist’s ideal of order and

scrupulous precision, but also a model of one aspect of contemporary thought: the conception of the world as law-bound in the relation of simple elementary components, yet open, unbounded, and contingent as a whole.5 It may be late in the game to hash out the old debate over abstraction and humanistic meaning (chasing Motherwell, Worringer, Greenberg, Rosenberg, Alloway, Rubin and so many others), yet the viewer who is determined to appreciate Bultman’s role in that “visionary company” of Ab Ex rebels has to recall how exciting it was to commit to the movement. Mondrian was in Midtown and the Surrealists had come over the borders. April Kingsley’s superb blow-by-blow account of the year 1950, The Turning Point, vividly reminds us of how the tight was the circle of artists and compressed the time frame. She cites Motherwell in the 1980s (Bultman died in 1985) calling him “the most underrated senior artist in America” and assesses his legacy in these vexed terms: “Bultman had a long and productive career as a painter, sculptor, collagist, and draftsman, but this kind of versatility worked against him as it had against Weldon Kees. Bultman’s huge free-form collages are without doubt among the finest works ever produced in the medium, and his sculpture from the seventies makes a powerful, if delayed, contribution to Abstract Expressionism in three dimensions. He was a brilliant, complex man of unpredictable behavior.”6 However much she admires Bultman’s art, Kingsley struggles to make the piece fit in the jigsaw puzzle. We detect a clue to the artist’s distinctive position among his peers in a fleeting journal reference to a once-famous warning from the philosopher and mathematician Alfred North Whitehead (more proof of the depth of the artist’s reading). Whitehead worried that “we have mistaken our abstraction for concrete realities.” Modern philosophy was “ruined” by the inductive error made by seventeenth-century (“the century of genius”) scientists who accepted as truth the abstract systems and schema mathematically reasoned from incomplete evidence.7 As Bultman ambiguously regarded the

Third, 1961, oil on canvas 48 x 96 in (121.9 x 243.8 cm)


Rosa Park, 1958, oil on canvas, 72 x 108 in (182.9 x 274.3 cm)

Expressionist side of the movement (“Art is discipline…and the artist in many ways is cut off from the movement toward freedom in his own time”), he also maintained a critical distance from absolute Abstraction. It shows in a work such as Rosa Park (1958, and please note the title is a reference to a park in New Orleans, not the civil rights activist), with its Dantesque geometry traced in black over an adroitly calibrated range of reds, some of them transparent. Much as Rothko did not paint sunsets any more than Gottlieb painted atomic bomb flashes, Bultman did not paint dunes or waves per se but the poetics of place, the shore and horizon, the park and its topography, their palettes and forms. A chasm of a painting, Cool Gate (1960) plunges through the gamut of Ab Ex techniques, from the sublime intervals of Clyfford Still’s ghastly tempests to the sculptural masses of magenta paint with the texture of an Yves Klein sponge, deeply scraped passages that resembles de Kooning’s or the dulled grey encaustic of Jasper Johns, all the while in dialogue with both Hofmann’s touch and Kline’s black and white gestures. Toward the end of his life, much like Miro and De Kooning, he retained the basic grammar of curved forms but emptied the canvas of all but a distillation of the well-known motifs. If one of the measures of an artist’s lasting significance is his or her intrusion upon the ways in which we experience Charles A. Riley II, PhD is an arts journalist and professor at the City University of New York. He is the author of thirty-one books on art, architecture, business, media and public policy, including Color Codes (University Press of New England), The Jazz Age in France (Abrams), Art at Lincoln Center (Wiley), Rodin and his Circle (Chimei), and Sacred Sister (in collaboration with Robert Wilson). He is a guest curator at the Chimei Museum, Taiwan and curator-at-large for the Nassau County Museum of Art. April Kingsley, The Turning Point: The Abstract Expressionists and the Transformation of American Art (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992), p. 97. 2 Tennessee Williams, “Suddenly Last Summer,” The Plays of Tennessee Williams (New York: Library of America, 2000), p. 111. 1

our visual surroundings, natural or artistic - the inevitable invocation of Monet before a meadow filled with poppies or of van Eyck if they are white daisies - then Bultman stands the test. At sunset on a windswept dune in Provincetown in late November, the burgundy in the raking light or the silhouette of twisted branches is right out of Bultman’s playbook. Try this at home, with a stroll by the bank of the East River at dawn or in New Orleans along the drive into Rosa Park and precipitate an instantaneous recognition of the imprint of his aesthetic of fullness upon the inner eye. Nor is this filter just for landscape. The black ribbon around a Matisse nude at the Metropolitan or the handling of red paint in the scumbling of late Sigmar Polke brings it back as well. Bultman’s moment passed decades ago, yet these paintings feel like an endless morning. Hart Crane, a similarly prosperous and complicated voyager, used his poem “Legend” (1924) as the opener to his volume White Buildings. It ends: Until the bright logic is won Unwhispering as a mirror Is believed. Then, drop by caustic drop, a perfect cry Shall string some constant harmony,-Relentless caper for all those who step The legend of their youth into the noon.

Fritz Bultman at the Modern Art Foundry, 1976. Photo taken by Johann Bultman.

George Steiner, The Poetry of Thought (New York: New Directions, 2011), p. 29. 4 Evan R. Firestone, “Fritz Bultman: The Case of the Missing ‘Irascible,’” Archives of American Art Journal, Vol. 34 Number 2, 1994, p. 12. 5 Meyer Schapiro, Theory and Philosophy of Art: Style, Artist, and Society (New York: Braziller, 1993), pp. 31-32. 6 Kingsley, The Turning Point, p. 98. 7 Alfred North Whitehead, Science and the Modern World (London: MacMillan, 1925), pp. 54-55. The text reads: “The paradox only arises because we have mistaken our abstraction for concrete realities…The enormous success of the scientific abstractions, yielding on the one hand matter with its simple location in space and time, on the other hand mind, perceiving, suffering, reasoning, but not interfering, has foisted on to philosophy the task of accepting them as the most concrete rendering of fact. Thereby, modern philosophy has been ruined.” 3


Rosa Park 1958 Oil on canvas 72 x 108 in (182.9 x 274.3 cm)


Third 1961 Oil on canvas 48 x 96 in (121.9 x 243.8 cm)


Cobalt and Yellow 1962 Oil on canvas 18 x 24 in (45.7 x 61 cm)


Doorkeeper II 1947 Oil on panel 35 x 30 in (88.9 x 76.2 cm)


Hotter 1962 Oil on canvas 30 x 24 in (76.2 x 61 cm)


Gravity of Nightfall (triptych) 1961 Oil on canvas 96 x 144 in (243.8 x 365.8 cm)


Idea I 1958 Oil on Canvas 18 x 19 in (45.7 x 48.3 cm)


Garden at Nightfall II 1976 Welded bronze and metal 59 x 35 x 21 in (149.9 x 88.9 x 53.3 cm)


Still Life with Red 1947 Oil on board 35 x 30 in (88.9 x 76.2 cm)


Cool Gate 1960 Oil on canvas 96 x 48 in (243.8 x 121.9 cm)


Red Rope 1967 Painted papers with paint 36 x 32 in (91.4 x 81.3 cm)


Two J’s 1962 Painted papers with crayon and gesso 29 x 23 in (73.7 x 58.4 cm)


Torso II 1970 Painted papers 47 x 36 in (119.4 x 91.4 cm)


Before and After II 1982 Painted papers 50 x 31 in (127 x 78.7 cm)


Wing: Boot 1968 Painted papers 56 x 46 in (142.2 x 116.8 cm)


Before and After V 1982 Painted papers 50 x 31 (127 x 78.7 cm)


Belt Barrier 1947 Painted papers 45 x 50 in (114.3 x 127 cm)


The King of France 1970 Painted papers 65 x 42 in (165.1 x 106.7 cm)


Fritz Bultman 1919 1931 - 1932 1932 - 1935 1935 - 1937 1937 - 1938 1938 - 1941

Born on April 4, 1919 in New Orleans, LA Began his art studies at age 13 with artist Morris Graves, who was visiting New Orleans, LA Studied at New Orleans Arts and Crafts School, New Orleans, LA Studied at Munich Preparatory School, Munich, Germany where he met Miz (Maria) Hofmann Studied at New Bauhaus School, Chicago, IL Studied at Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts, New York, NY Studied at Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts, Provincetown, NY 1940 Met Tennessee Williams in Provincetown, MA, Williams visited Bultman in Greenwich Village, NY in the 1940s 1943 Married Jeanne Lawson, a dancer, in December in New York, NY 1945 Moved to Provincetown, MA 1950 Signed the historical and infamous “Irascibles” letter to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, along with other New York School of Abstract Expressionist painters: William Baziotes, James Brooks, Willem de Kooning, Jimmy Ernst, Adolph Gottlieb, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, Richard Pousette-Dart, Ad Reinhardt, Mark Rothko, Theodoros Stamos, Hedda Sterne, Clyfford Still and Bradley Walker Tomlin 1950 - 1957 Member of the New York School of Abstract Expressionists 1951 Received a grant to study sculpture in Italy. As a result, he was in Italy at the time of the photo shoot for the famous Abstract Expressionist photograph called “The Irascibles”, and was therefore not in the photo, which was published on January 15, 1951 in Life magazine 1952 Moved back to New York City 1945 - 1960 Visited friends Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock in East Hampton, NY 1958 Tennessee Williams visited the Bultman Family home in the Garden District of New Orleans, where he wrote and set the play ‘Suddenly Last Summer’ 1958 - 1963 Taught at Pratt Institute, New York, NY 1959 - 1964 Taught at Hunter College, New York, NY 1962 Began to work more with collages, which would be his primary media for the next two decades 1964 - 1965 Awarded a Fulbright Fellowship, Paris, France 1968 Co-Founded the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, MA 1968 - 1972 Taught at Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, MA 1975 Awarded TheJohn Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, New York, NY 1985 Died on July 20, 1985 in Provincetown, MA Selected Solo Exhibitions 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2001

Fritz Bultman, Torn Paper Collages, Albert Merola Gallery, Provincetown, MA Fritz Bultman, Albert Merola Gallery, Provincetown, MA Jeanne and Fritz Bultman - A Provincetown Collection and Salon, Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Provincetown, MA Fritz Bultman, Drawings from the early 1960’s, Albert Merola Gallery, Provincetown, MA Fritz Bultman, Collages from the 1980’s, Albert Merola Gallery, Provincetown, MA Fritz Bultman, Paintings, Drawings, Sculpture and Collage, Reynolds Ryan Art Gallery - Isidore Newman School, New Orleans, LA Fritz Bultman, Small Paintings 1957 - 1961, Albert Merola Gallery, Provincetown, MA Fritz Bultman, The Rhythm of the Line, Albert Merola Gallery, Provincetown, MA Fritz Bultman, Irascible II, Gallery Schlesinger, New York, NY Fritz Bultman, Albert Merola Gallery, Provincetown, MA Fritz Bultman, Rare Paintings from the Early 1960’s, Albert Merola Gallery, Provincetown, MA Fritz Bultman, Irascible, Gallery Schlesinger, New York, NY Fritz Bultman, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art - University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA Fritz Bultman, Paintings, Collages, Drawings and Sculpture: 1953 - 1985, Albert Merola Gallery, Provincetown, MA


1998 1997 1993 1992 1991 1990 1989 1987 1986 1984 1982 1979 1978 1977 1976 1974 1973 1965 1964 1963 1960

1959 1958 1952 1950 1947

Fritz Bultman, No/Show... An Evolving Exhibition, Gallery Schlesinger, New York, NY Fritz Bultman, Drawing from Life, Gallery Schlesinger, New York, NY Fritz Bultman, Collages, Georgia Museum of Art - University of Georgia, Athens, GA Fritz Bultman, Collages, Georgia Museum of Art - University of Georgia, Athens, GA Fritz Bultman, No/Show... An Evolving Exhibition, Gallery Schlesinger, New York, NY Fritz Bultman, Collages of The Sixties, Gallery Schlesinger, New York, NY Fritz Bultman, A Retrospective, New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA; travelling exhibition Fritz Bultman, Gallery Schlesinger, New York, NY (solo) Fritz Bultman, Gallery Schlesinger, New York, NY (solo) Fritz Bultman, Gallery Schlesinger, New York, NY (solo) Fritz Bultman, Kouros Gallery, New York, NY (solo) Fritz Bultman, Gallery Schlesinger, New York, NY (solo) Fritz Bultman, Retrospective, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT (solo) Fritz Bultman, Gallery Schlesinger, New York, NY (solo) Fritz Bultman, Tilden-Foley Gallery, New Orleans, LA (solo) Fritz Bultman, Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME (solo) Fritz Bultman, Hunter College, New York, NY (solo) Fritz Bultman, Galerie Schlesinger-Boisanté, New York, NY (solo) Fritz Bultman, Galerie Schlesinger-Boisanté, New York, NY (solo) Fritz Bultman, Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, MA (solo) Fritz Bultman, Cherry Stone Gallery, Wellfleet, MA (solo) Fritz Bultman, Long Point Gallery, Provincetown, MA (solo) Fritz Bultman, Landmark Gallery, Inc., New York, NY (solo) Fritz Bultman, Galerie Schlesinger-Boisanté, New York, NY (solo) Fritz Bultman, Long Point Gallery, Provincetown, MA (solo) Fritz Bultman, Landmark Gallery, Inc., New York, NY (solo) Fritz Bultman, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC (solo) Fritz Bultman, Long Point Gallery, Provincetown, MA (solo) Fritz Bultman, Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, NY (solo) Fritz Bultman, Cherry Stone Gallery, Wellfleet, MA (solo) Fritz Bultman, Long Point Gallery, Provincetown, MA (solo) Fritz Bultman, Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, NY (solo) Fritz Bultman, New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA (solo) Fritz Bultman, Oklahoma Art Center, Oklahoma City, OK (solo) Fritz Bultman, Newport Art Association, Newport, RI (solo) Fritz Bultman, Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, NY (solo) Fritz Bultman, The Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago, IL (solo) Fritz Bultman, Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York, NY (solo) Fritz Bultman, Weatherspoon Gallery - University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC (solo) Fritz Bultman, Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York, NY (solo) Fritz Bultman, Isaac Delgado Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA (solo) Fritz Bultman, Galerie Stadler, Paris, France (solo) Fritz Bultman, Gallery Mayer, New York, NY (solo) Fritz Bultman, Michel Warren Gallery, New York, NY (solo) Fritz Bultman, Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, NY (solo) Fritz Bultman, Stable Gallery, New York, NY (solo) Fritz Bultman, Kootz Gallery, New York, NY (solo) Fritz Bultman, Hugo Gallery, New York, NY (solo) Fritz Bultman, Hugo Gallery, New York, NY (solo)


Selected Group Exhibitions 2012 2011 2008 2007 2005 2004 1994 1981 1977 1975 1964 1963 - 1964 1956 1955 1954 1953 1952 1950 1949

Abstraction: What Is Real, Edelman Arts, New York, NY Fine Arts Work Center Benefit, Cheim & Reid, New York, NY Constructing/Deconstructing: ABEX Collage, Hollis Taggart Galleries, New York, NY Group Exhibition, Edelman Arts, New York, NY 50 Years of Collecting, Louisiana Art & Science Museum, Baton Rouge, LA Abstraction, Albert Merola Gallery, Provincetown, MA Hollis Taggart Galleries, The Armory Show, Pier 92, New York, NY The Tides of Provincetown New Britain Museum, New Britain, CT; travelling exhibition Abstraction: Summer 2008, Thomas McCormick Gallery, Chicago, IL Stone Cold Classics, Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville, SC It’s About Art: An Evolving Exhibition, Gallery Schlesinger, New York, NY Drawing, Albert Merola Gallery, Provincetown, MA New York-Provincetown: A 50’s Connection, Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Provincetown, MA Figural Art, City University of New York, New York, NY Tracking the Marvelous, New York University, New York, NY Provincetown Painters: 1890s to 1970s, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY 20 American Fulbright Artists, International Institute of Education, New York, NY 67th Annual American Exhibition - Directions in Contemporary Painting and Sculpture, The Arts Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL Hans Hofmann and His Students, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY New York Painting and Sculpture Annual Exhibition, Stable Gallery, New York, NY Annual, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY New York Painting and Sculpture Annual Exhibition, Stable Gallery, New York, NY New York Painting and Sculpture Annual Exhibition, Stable Gallery, New York, NY New York Painting and Sculpture Annual Exhibition, Stable Gallery, New York, NY Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY Black or White, Samuel Kootz Gallery, New York, NY Organized and exhibited in “Forum 49” group exhibition, Provincetown, MA

Selected Public Collections Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Provincetown, MA Literature 1997 1994 1993 1987 1976 1948

Fritz Bultman: Collages, Evan R. Firestone, Donald Windham and William U. Eiland, Georgia Museum of Art - University of Georgia, Athens, GA Fritz Bultman: The Case of the Missing ‘Irascible’, Archives of American Art Journal, vol. 34.2, 1994, p. 11-20 Fritz Bultman: A Retrospective, April Kingsley, New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA Fritz Bultman, Donald Kuspit, Artforum, vol. 26.3, November 1987, p. 130-131 Opening and Closing: Fritz Bultman’s Sculpture, Arts Magazine, vol. 50.5, January 1976, p. 82-83 Fritz Bultman: Sketchbook, Donald Windham Collection, New York, NY


Fritz Bultman in Munich 1935 - 1936


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Essay: Charles A. Riley II, PhD Design and Production: Traffic Graphic Design: Myungin Choe Photography: Alan Sikiric


Fritz Bultman: The Missing Irascible  

Exhibition Catalog for Fritz Bultman (1919-1985), The Missing Irascible showing at Edelman Arts, NYC from April 3 - May 11, 2013

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