A luminous and poetic joy is in the work of Orville Bulman.—Revue Moderne, Paris
Orville Bulman had to put his art career on hold for decades in order to help run the family business in his home town of Grand Rapids, Michigan. He didn’t give up painting and, eventually, exhibited at New York’s Society of Independent Artists in 1937 and at the Woodstock Art Colony in 1948, but it wasn’t until he was in his forties that he discovered his muse and hit his stride.
His early works were done mainly in the regionalist and social realist style and, although they are wonderful paintings with harmonious colors, they just barely hint at the works that he would be best known for and coveted by collectors all over the world.
Orville Bulman in Palm Beach
It was a series of serious neck injuries in 1946, that led to Bulman to take up winter residence in Palm Beach. Although he had to remain in traction, intermittently, over a period of eight years, he was still able to paint.
While living in Palm Beach, Bulman began to travel and paint around the South. In the early 1950s, Bulman came across some pictures of Haiti. He was inspired by the island’s fanciful architecture and, in 1952, he took a trip to Haiti that changed his life and his work.
He lived in a Haitian village where he created whimsical and joyful paintings of the people and places he saw and also of the people and places that he imagined.
Orville Bulman’s works spoke to so many, that his shows were often sold out before the gallery doors were officially opened.
In 1955, Chicago Tribune art critic, Eleanor Jewett, wrote, “The perfect antidote to the stresses and strains of our day is found in the delightful paintings of Orville Bulman…he is a born artist…and a disciplined genius…the delicious mischief, minus malice, runs through them like a scarlet thread, fascinating the spectator and robbing the art of not a whit of its dignity. The foibles of humanity tossed into our laps by this artist are invitations to friendships.”
Orville Bulman Paintings in Mar-a-Lago
More than a dozen Orville Bulman paintings were hanging in the the 118-room Palm Beach estate when Donald Trump bought Mar-a-Lago in 1985.
He applied for a $10 million mortgage loan and, according to documents filed with the Palm Beach County Clerk of Court, there were eighty seven paintings hanging in the estate, and thirteen of them were works by Orville Bulman. Included on the list were Bulman’s Three Ladies Riding Three Tigers and La Barque de Roi.
It’s not clear if the paintings were already in the mansion when Mr. Trump bought the property, but they are certainly a reflection of the distinction of the Palm Beach artist.
Paintings of Orville Bulman at the Surovek Gallery
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Tampa Bay Times Here are the titles of 87 paintings in Donald Trump’s Florida mansion 2016.
Richard Vetoes, GRHC Orville Bulman, Artist Grand Rapids Historical Commission. March 4, 2009.