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Lucienne Bloch

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Lucienne Bloch
American Contemporary Murals, Glass, Ceramic, Lithography, Photography
American, (1909–1999)
Lucienne Bloch (January 5, 1909 - March 13, 1999) was a Switzerland-born American artist. She was best known for her murals and for her association with the Mexican artist Diego Rivera, for whom she produced the only existing photographs of Rivera's mural Man at the Crossroads, painted and then destroyed in 1934 at Rockefeller Center in New York City.[1]

Bloch was born in Geneva, Switzerland, and came to America with her family in 1917. She was the youngest child of composer and photographer Ernest Bloch. A multi-talented artist, Lucienne attended the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris at 14, apprenticing with sculptor Antoine Bourdelle and painter Andre Lhote. Her close friend Beniamino Bufano also influenced her sculpture. In 1929, she pioneered the design of glass sculpture for the Royal Leerdam Crystal Glass Factory in the Netherlands. When Frank Lloyd Wright saw her glass works and spoke with her in New York, he invited her to teach at his architectural school, Taliesin East, where she worked with artist and muralist Santiago Martínez Delgado and other Taliesin fellows.

But Bloch had just met and began her apprenticeship with Diego Rivera on his frescoes in New York and Detroit. She formed a close friendship with Diego's wife Frida Kahlo, and they became each others' companion and confidant. In 1932 she accompanied Frida to Mexico when her mother became ill. She was also with Frida in Detroit when she had her miscarriage.

A prolific photographer, Bloch contributed many photographs of Rivera and Kahlo to biographical works about them. She took the only existing photographs of Rivera's (controversially) destroyed mural, Man at the Crossroads, in Rockefeller Center Plaza in New York City.

Lucienne married one of Rivera's chief plasterers, Stephen Pope Dimitroff. Together they created fresco murals all over the United States. From 1935 to 1939, she was employed by the WPA/FAP (Works Progress Administration/Federal Arts Project). She also worked free-lance as a photographer for Life magazine, recording the desperate conditions of autoworkers during the labor strikes and protests that occurred throughout the U.S. during the formation of the automobile worker unions.

Bloch worked in many types of media: photography, fresco, woodblock cuts, lithographs, mosaics, egg tempera, watercolor, wood and glass sculpture, terra cotta, portraits in ink, gesso, and oil. She also illustrated numerous children's books. She and Dimitroff created nearly 50 murals across the United States for religious institutions, schools, hospitals, and businesses. Dimitroff died in 1996.

Bloch died in 1999 on her small farm in Gualala in Northern California.

Information compliments of Fahey/Klein Gallery.

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