Portrait of a Boy, 1911
Oil on canvas
35 1/4 x 28 inches
Signed and dated upper right
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.
Bloch’s early works included urban landscapes of Schwabing and Dachau, and a number of portraits executed in a two-dimensional style with black contours and strong colors. Portrait of a Boy is a radical and bold early portrait that reflects both French and German influences. Many works from this early period were lost in World War II, making Portrait of a Boy an especially prized painting.