Fritz Bultman


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Painter and sculptor. Born Anthony Frederick Bultman III in New Orleans, he got his start as an artist under the eye of Morris Graves, a houseguest of his parents in 1932. As a teenager he studied in Germany but in 1937 enrolled at Chicago's New Bauhaus. Dissatisfied, he stayed only a few months before heading off the next year to begin four years of study with Hans Hofmann in New York and Provincetown. By making his home in Provincetown until 1952, Bultman missed much of the early abstract expressionist ferment in New York. Yet, during the 1940s, his work contributed to the movement with dynamic canvases such as the 1949 Hunter (Metropolitan Museum, 1949). Dramatic reds and blacks do fierce battle in homage to the Actaeon myth, demonstrating the artist's links to abstract expressionist interests in archaic and symbolic thought. After he subsequently produced a black-and-white series featuring freer, flatter, rounded forms, in September 1950 he left for Italy to study bronze casting for nine months. Shortly after his return, strong color reappeared in his painting. In 1952 he moved to New York but maintained his connection with Provincetown, where he died at his home after long illness. By the mid-1950s his agitated surfaces began to relax, eventually becoming the sonorous abstract color works that characterized his later career. Many of these, following Matisse's lead, incorporate collage. During the 1960s and 1970s, he also completed a number of bronze sculptures.

Subjects: Art.

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