Ralph Albert Blakelock

American, 1847–1919

260 followers

Ralph Albert Blakelock

Bio

American, 1847–1919

Followers
260
Biography

With the exception of James Abbott McNeill Whistler and Albert Pinkham Ryder, no American Tonalist was more crucial to the development of American modernism than Ralph Albert Blakelock. Although he started out as a somewhat conventional Hudson River School painter, his poetic and symbolic moonlights of the 1890s, with their emphasis on pattern and abstract design and manipulated paint surfaces, changed the face of American art. Blakelock’s scintillating dream-like nocturnes reward close inspection for their interplay of color, tone, subtle vibration, refracted edges, jagged rhythmic patterns, and dissonant harmonies. The artist endlessly experimented with surface textures: scumbling, scraping, and even pumicing his lacquer-like pigments. Blakelock’s works are replete with analogues to nature’s underlying armature, even mimicking the organic structure visible on the microscopic level of cellular formation, or writ large in the more apparent structures of the environment, from plant morphology and animal physiology to geologic structures.

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Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 1 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and 1 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale National Pavilion, and 1 more
Biography

With the exception of James Abbott McNeill Whistler and Albert Pinkham Ryder, no American Tonalist was more crucial to the development of American modernism than Ralph Albert Blakelock. Although he started out as a somewhat conventional Hudson River School painter, his poetic and symbolic moonlights of the 1890s, with their emphasis on pattern and abstract design and manipulated paint surfaces, changed the face of American art. Blakelock’s scintillating dream-like nocturnes reward close inspection for their interplay of color, tone, subtle vibration, refracted edges, jagged rhythmic patterns, and dissonant harmonies. The artist endlessly experimented with surface textures: scumbling, scraping, and even pumicing his lacquer-like pigments. Blakelock’s works are replete with analogues to nature’s underlying armature, even mimicking the organic structure visible on the microscopic level of cellular formation, or writ large in the more apparent structures of the environment, from plant morphology and animal physiology to geologic structures.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 1 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and 1 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale National Pavilion, and 1 more
Articles Featuring Ralph Albert Blakelock
Why the Hazy, Luminous Landscapes of Tonalism Resonate Today
Jan 19th, 2021
Why the Hazy, Luminous Landscapes of Tonalism Resonate Today
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