Patrick Henry Bruce (1881-1936)
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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 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 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 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.
In 1936 Bruce committed suicide in New York City at the age of fifty-five. Though Bruce’s life ended early, his work has not been forgotten. His paintings are in major collections throughout Europe and the United States. Do you think you own a painting by Patrick Henry Bruce. Contact us. We are the experts on Patrick Henry Bruce.