Robert Frederick BlumMajor figure painter and illustrator
American , 1857-1903
was an American artist born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on the 9th of July 1857. He was employed for a time in a lithographic shop, and studied at the McMicken Art School of Design in Cincinnati, and at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, but he was practically self-taught, and early showed great and original talent. He settled in New York in 1879, and his first published sketches of Japanese jugglers appeared in St. Nicholas. His most important work is a large frieze in the Mendelssohn Music Hall, New York, Music and the Dance (1895). His pen-and-ink work for the Century Magazine attracted wide attention, as did his illustrations for Sir Edwin Arnold's Japonica. "Man before grilled entrance"In the country and art of Japan he had been interested for many years. A Daughter of Japan, drawn by Blum and W. J. Baer, was the cover of Scribner's Magazine for May 1893, and was one of the earliest pieces of color printing for an American magazine. In Scribner's for 1893 appeared also his Artist's Letters from Japan. He was an admirer of Fortuny, whose methods somewhat influenced his work. Blum's Venetian pictures, such as A Bright Day at Venice (1882), had lively charm and beauty. He died on the 8th of June 1903 in New York City.