Orville Bulman: Recent Acquisitions

Orville Bulman 1904-1978

Bulman's Island - An island of humor and color, laughter and love.

– Raymond Burr, 1961

There is much about Orville Bulman's life that is surprising. It's hard to imagine Orville Bulman and Raymond Burr crossing paths, but they did. Burr, who played the criminal defense lawyer Perry Mason television show in the 1950's, was also an avid art collector, gallerist and a great admirer of the paintings of Orville Bulman. Raymond Burr was not alone. Bulman's works were collected by such notables as The Duchess of Windsor, President Gerald Ford, Robert F. Kennedy and Marjorie Merriweather Post.


Bulman was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan and was expected to run his family's successful manufacturing company, which he dutifully did for many years. He spent one year after his high school graduation working as a cartoonist in Chicago, then returned home to take care of the business. For more than twenty years, Bulman worked diligently, and painted for the sheer joy of it. He was rewarded with an exhibit New York's Society of Independent Artists in 1937.


Bulman's life took an interesting turn when he began to spend summers in Palm Beach in 1946, to recover from neck injuries. He saw some photos of Haiti, which inspired him to travel to the island, where he found his muse. In a letter to his wife, Jean, in 1959, Bulman wrote, ""It certainly does pay to be understanding and to accept people of whatever creed or nationality with sympathy and a genuine desire to know them and to understand them and their country…I hope I'm not dreaming."


His works were featured in Life magazine and Newsweek and shown in galleries in the U.S. and Europe. Le Revue Moderne in Paris said, "A luminous and poetic joy is in the work of Orville Bulman." 


During the latter part of his career, Bulman painted Henri Rousseau-inspired works that belie the fact that he was a self-taught artist, who never gave up on his love of painting. Among the works in Surovek Gallery by Orville Bulman, we have recently acquired Les Spectateurs, Giraffe Emballe, Beach House, Pleasant Meeting and Les Gardiens.


Please contact us if you would like more information about the paintings of Orville Bulman or any of the other fine works available at Surovek Gallery.

June 10, 2021
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