Known as a painter and printmaker, Al Blaustein received his formal art training at Cooper Union following three years of active military duty during World War II. Commissions for Life magazine and the British Overseas Food Corporation in East Africa in 1948 and 1949, followed by a three-year Prix de Rome fellowship and grants from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Guggenheim foundation, enabled Blaustein to travel extensively throughout the fifties. In his early work Blaustein concentrated on texture and patterning and built compositions with small, detailed elements, but broadened his approach after working on a mural in 1952. A painter of landscapes, studio interiors, and figure subjects, Blaustein seeks to reveal essentials and is concerned less with specific information about appearance and locale than with mood-evoking contrasts of light and dark, form and line.
Virginia M. Mecklenburg Modern American Realism: The Sara Roby Foundation Collection (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press for the National Museum of American Art, 1987)