Emil Bisttram, Projection No. 1

Emil Bisttram, Projection No. 1, 1960

Emil Bisttram
1895 Nadlac, Hungary−1976 Taos, New Mexico
Projection No. 1
oil on canvas
43 5/8 × 32 1/2 in.
New Mexico Museum of Art, gift of Duncan and Elizabeth Boeckman, 2005, 1997.43.1
photo by Blair Clark

Emil Bisttram produced a series of paintings exploring a macro view of imagery reminiscent of atomic particles and underlying structures of the universe. The Los Alamos National Laboratory acquired six of his drawings and paintings in 1963 and used them in publications to present a humanist face to their atomic research. One of Bisttram’s paintings: Ascending (1958) was printed on a pamphlet created to recruit scientists. It appears under the heading “Scientific objectivity characterizes the examination of natural forces in the experimental laboratories at Los Alamos.” Bisttram was also a co-founder of the Transcendental Painting Group, active in New Mexico between 1938 and 1942.