Bloch was sole American Blue Rider

Sunday, April 7, 2002

Albert Bloch, born in 1882 in St. Louis, dropped out of school at age 16 so he could begin taking classes at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts. Even then, he knew he wanted to devote his life to art.

He was hired by the Mirror, a satirical weekly in St. Louis, to supply caricatures, cartoons and covers. In 1908 he moved with his wife, Hortense, and young son, Bernard, to Munich, where he studied art and eventually came in contact with Franz Marc and Wassily Kandinsky, members of the Blue Rider, an expressionistic group that ushered in modern art.

Bloch was included in several Blue Rider exhibits and had several solo and group shows in Europe and the United States. His paintings were purchased and included in prominent private collections.

In 1916, Walter Bloch � Scott Bloch's father � was born in Germany. In 1921, Albert Bloch and his family returned to the United States, where Albert Bloch got a job teaching at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. He sent most of the money he earned to his wife and family, who were living in St. Louis.

In 1923, Bloch was hired to teach art at Kansas University and moved with his family to 1015 Ala., where he turned the attic and a bedroom into studios. Bloch eventually became head of KU's department of painting and drawing. His students included Robert Sudlow and Robert Berkeley Green.

After he moved to Lawrence, Bloch withdrew from the art world, having no contact with art critics or art promoters. He became fascinated with the writings of Karl Kraus, and in 1927-1928 translated many of his poems.

In the early 1930s, Bloch met art student Anna Francis, who would later become part of KU's art department staff and his second wife. He began to compose poems, continued his painting and drawing and resumed translating the works of Kraus and Georg Trakl.

In 1947, Bloch retired from KU after suffering a heart attack. Two years later, Hortense died, and in 1951 he married his longtime companion, Anna.

Bloch died in 1961. Anna continues to live in the Alabama Street residence.