Arnold Blanch


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Painter and printmaker. Known for portraits, landscapes, and studio scenes, he also painted several murals under the auspices of the federal art projects. Born in the southeastern Minnesota hamlet of Mantorville, Blanch studied for two years at the Minneapolis School of Fine Arts and served in the U.S. military during World War I before enrolling at the Art Students League from 1919 to 1921. There, his teachers included John Sloan, Kenneth Hayes Miller, and Boardman Robinson. In 1923 he moved permanently to Woodstock. A founding member of the American Artists' Congress, in some paintings from that era he revealed overtly left-wing political attitudes, sometimes creating disturbing, almost surrealist effects to enhance his message. However, among other paintings that suggest social sympathies more indirectly, Swamp Folk (Brooklyn Museum, 1939), depicting an African-American couple in a sweeping landscape, acknowledges poverty but sustains a tone of quiet lyricism. In the 1940s he flirted with abstraction but settled on a representational style that from time to time incorporated elements of fantasy. He collapsed and died on a bus en route from Woodstock to New York.

Blanch's first wife, painter and printmaker Lucile Blanch (1895–1981), was born Lucile Linquist in Hawley, Minnesota. Before their marriage in 1922, they studied together in Minneapolis and at the Art Students League. After their divorce in 1935, she traveled frequently but continued to make her home in Woodstock, where she died. Known especially for landscapes, she also painted figurative subjects and turned to abstraction in the 1940s. In 1939 Blanch married Doris Lee, but that marriage also ended in divorce. He published two books, Methods and Techniques for Gouache Painting (1946) and, with Lee, Painting for Enjoyment (1947).

Subjects: Art.

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