Norman Bluhm is an American artist best known for his involvement in The New York School of Abstract Expressionism. He was born in Chicago Illinois in 1921 and studied with Mies Van Der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology before joining the United States Air Force during World War II where he served in active combat in Europe. Like many of his generation, he decided to continue his education after the war, enrolling in the GI Bill in 1947 and returning to France to study at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere and the Ecole des Beaux Arts where he befriended fellow American expatriates, notably Sam Francis and Joan Mitchell. He also studied with Alberto Giacometti, Jean Cocteau, and Antonin Artaud.
In 1956 Bluhm returned to the United States where he became an integral figure of the New York School, and a fixture at the 10th Street Club and the Cedar Tavern. In the 1950s he began to exhibit his paintings at the influential Leo Castelli Gallery. His pictures from this decade, created with a loaded brush, are notable for their ethereal cells of overlapping color. His paintings from the 1960s exemplify the muscular qualities of New York action painting. Often executed in monumental scale, these works emphasize the physical effort required to move the thick swaths of paint rapidly with full force across each canvas.