Peter Blume, Poppies #1, 1964, ink and chalk on colored paper, 9 3/4 × 13".

Peter Blume

ACA Galleries

Peter Blume, Poppies #1, 1964, ink and chalk on colored paper, 9 3/4 × 13".

The most surprising works in this exhibition of Peter Blume’s art were the drawings, which were made with an exquisitely fine-tuned hand, an ingeniously variable touch—sometimes delicate, sometimes firm. Intense and self-dramatizing, these pieces seem to incubate a grand gesture even as they evince a keen command of nuanced observation. Blume is conventionally thought of as a social realist, but it is clear from such drawings as Untitled (Town and Woods), 1937, and Allegheny Range, 1938, that he was also a descriptive realist.

The pencil-on-paper work Man with Camera, ca. 1938, shows just how light and lyrical Blume’s mark-making could be—the figure is almost insubstantial, more white paper than shadowy line—while Poppies #1, 1964, a rendering in ink and chalk on colored paper, evidence a hand that is firm and determined. Blume was clearly a master of his medium,

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