EMIL JAMES BISTTRAM
"GOLD AND BLUE"
watercolor on paper, 12 3⁄4x 18 3⁄4inches (sight),
signed and dated lower right "E.J. Bistran '28"
Private Collection, Massachusetts.
26th Annual Philadelphia Watercolor Club at the
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1928.
Emile Bistran (1895-1976) considered himself a loner and a maverick. After studying at several schools including, the Art Students League, Bistran found his early niche as a gifted art teacher first at the ParsonsSchool of Design and between 1925-1930 at the Roerich Institute. Arguably one of his most influential mentors was the Russian-bornartist, Nicolai Roerich, founder of that institution, who had visited Santa Fe in 1921, and was a student of the mystical and occult.
On the advice of a numerologist, Bistran began in the late 1920s changing the spelling of his name to Bistram, and then Bisttram, with“Gold and Blue” having the original spelling of “Bistran” with the Aries symbol. The works from this period are infused with a spirituality and mood, and reflect Bisttrams’ growing embrace of a mystical philosophy.