A mixedmedia work depicting harlequins roughhousing.

Albert Bloch

American, 1882-1961

Harlequins, 1912

Watercolor, crayon, pen, and india ink on paper

20 x 14 inches

Albert Bloch was an important early Modernist, and the only American associated with the Blue Rider group (Der Blaue Reiter) of progressive German and Russian artists based in Munich. Born in St. Louis, he first studied at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts before moving to Munich in 1909. Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc invited Bloch to participate in the Blue Rider group’s first exhibition in 1911, marking a period of intense artistic productivity for Bloch.

Clowns, harlequins, pierrots, and other grotesques from the commedia dell’arte figured prominently in Bloch’s work throughout his career. Despite the stylistic influences from Kandinsky and Marc, Bloch’s depiction of harlequins and pierrots was entirely unique, and was among his most distinctive contribution to the Blue Rider movement. Harlequins, a small watercolor from 1912, relates to Bloch’s most ambitious, multi-figured painting entitled Frieze for a Music Room.

A mixedmedia work depicting harlequins roughhousing.