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Emil Bisttram

(1895 - 1976)

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Biography

Born in Hungary, Emil Bisttram started his art career in advertising. His early work was Cubist-influenced, yet representational in nature.

Eleven artists made up the Transcendental Painting Group, which included Bisttram, as well as Florence Miller, Stuart Walker, Ed Garman, Lawren Harris, Robert Gribbroek, Raymond Jonson, Dane Rudhyar, Agnes Pelton, William Lumpkins, and Horace Towner Pierce. The Group achieved recognition, showing works at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 1940. They exhibited at the Paris World Exposition, Paris, France, also in 1940, as well as at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Taos, New Mexico based group lasted from 1938 to 1941.

Of the Transcendental Painting Group, Bisttram was the most involved in the spiritual, using such titles as Creative Forces and Oversoul. He believed that:

. . . the artist is . . . a seeker of truth . . . He is a priest, a magician . . . . an artist by virtue of the power within him and that power is bestowed through scrupulous morality, the strictest discipline and deep mediation and contemplation . . .