Patrick Henry Bruce (1881-1936)

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Bruce, Still Life, 1921-2

Still Life, 1921-2

Bruce, Still Life, 1925-6

Still Life, 1925-6

Patrick Henry Bruce was an American painter, born in Campbell County, Virginia. Bruce was interested in art from an early age and took courses at the Art Club of Richmond in Virginia. To support himself, Bruce worked at a real estate office.

Bruce, Still Life

Still Life

Bruce, Still Life, 1919

Still Life, 1919

Bruce left Virginia in search of a larger art community and moved to New York City in 1902. Bruce lived in New York for only two years before relocating to Paris, where he stayed for nearly thirty years. During Bruce’s time in Paris, his style gradually became more modern and abstract. Bruce became one of the first to study with Matisse and was introduced to numerous avant-garde artists.

Bruce, Painting, 1918

Painting, 1918

Bruce never categorized himself in one particular school, but has been grouped with Orphists, Synchromists and Cubists. Both the Orphists and Synchromists used bright colors to create abstract work that reflected the lyrical qualities of music and poetry. Both genres started around 1912 and were practiced in both Europe and the United States. Orphism, sometimes referred to as Orphic Cubism, is named after Orpheus, a lyre in Greek Mythology.

As Bruce’s work matured it became more geometric and minimalistic. Bruce commonly painted still life arrangements, abstracted into flat, graphic forms.

Bruce, Still Life: Traverse Beams

Still Life: Traverse Beams

Bruce, Abstract, 1928

Abstract, 1928

Bruce, Still Life, 1923

Still Life, 1923

Bruce, Still Life with Pears

Still Life with Pears

Bruce, Still Life with Plate

Still Life with Plate

Bruce inspired future Cubists and was admired by the conceptual artist, Marcel Duchamp. Despite Bruce’s artistic success, he was often unsatisfied with his work and destroyed many of his paintings. Merely one hundred of Bruce’s paintings survived.


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