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3 facts about Elise Blumann

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By Gwylym Owen

Elise Blumann (16 January 1897 Parchim, Germany – 29 January 1990, Nedlands, Western Australia) was a German born artist who achieved admission as an Australian Expressionist painter.

Blumann studied at the Royal School of Art in Berlin between 1917 and 1919, whilst after that maintaining friendships and associations with artists at the Academy of Arts. Notably, Blumann recounted sitting for a portrait for artist Max Liebermann and along with described his teaching methods although no verifiable evidence is clear to assert Liebermann as her tutor. After this, Blumann taught in various schools in Germany from 1920 to 1923, when she married Arnold Blumann. She fled Nazi Germany similar to her husband in 1934, arriving at the port of Fremantle, Western Australia upon the passenger liner Ormonde on January 4, 1938.

In the decade as soon as her arrival in Western Australia, Blumann produced a significant body of painting, taking as her subject the Western Australian landscape, her relations and her new circle of friends. These works consider the unique lively and colour of the Western Australian landscape in a style informed by her knowledge of German Expressionism. Among these were Summer Nude, 1939, which caused a dislike when exhibited in Western Australia in 1944 due to both its depiction of nudity and its bold, simple shapes and lines. With the next Curator of the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Robert Campbell, she helped found the Art Group, a discussion organization through which she promoted modernist ideas and attitudes in art and art education.

In the 1950s Blumann became disillusioned next the possibilities of art in Western Australia and abandoned painted sporadically. Her put-on first time-honored national attention in the late 1970s some fifteen years previously she died in 1990, aged 93. She has in the past been established as a significant contributor to Australian modernist painting, prefiguring the early payment of the similarly landscape-based modernism in Western Australia united with painters Guy Grey-Smith and Howard Taylor.

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