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Emil James Bisttram (American, 1895-1976)


Also known as:  Emil Bisttram

Emil Bisttram (1895-1976) is known primarily as a Taos, New Mexico artist. He became interested in alternative thought, philosophy and its relationship to art early on when as a young artist in NYC he was introduced to Theosophy. The Theosophical idea that religion, spirituality and even geometry are inter-related intrigued Bisttram. Seduced as well by an obscure system of picture composition called ‘Dynamic Symmetry’ (based on Euclidean geometry) he approached his work as a considered and tangible alignment with a greater spiritual order. He developed these ideas into a formal approach to his painting, which he then espoused in his larger teaching career. When Bisttram settled in Taos in 1931, he found a receptive audience for his ideas based on Theosophy, and indeed his own spiritual home. He lived and worked in New Mexico until his death in 1976.

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