Emil Bisttram
And the Transcendental Painting Group

June 11 2019

I knew about the philosophical movement of Transcendentalism that developed during the early 19th century in North America. Only now I learned that there was also a group of painters dedicating their work to this ideal: The Transcendental Painting Group with their unifying goal to make art based on spiritual principles:

‘…art which releases from its creators the deepest springs of vitality and consciousness and which aims to stimulate in others, through deep and spontaneous emotional experiences of form and color, a more intense participation in the life of the spirit.’

The group was established in 1938 by Emil Bisttram and Raymond Jonson and consisted of several other Santa Fe artists. And it’s no wonder that these seekers of the inner spirit, would gather in New Mexico, a place of vast deserts and dazzling light, to carry painting beyond the appearance of the physical world.