Julius Bloch, Man at an Open Window
Although Julius Bloch is primarily known for his empathetic and gripping portrayals of the underclass, after traveling to Europe in 1951 and observing the Byzantine mosaics in Ravenna, Italy, he reoriented his work in a more expressionist style. No longer an individualized portrait, Man at an Open Window is instead an exploration of patches of color. Rendered with consecutive squares of white and blue paint, the image recalls the variegated pattern of mosaics. The cool palette is informed by shades of blue, white, and beige. The subject’s wide, almond-shaped eyes are inspired by Byzantine models.
Man at an Open Window is part of a series of five paintings of the same subject with variations in color, application of paint, and border design. A more vivid rendering of the theme can be seen in the collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. All five works were exhibited at Woodmere in 1954.