Modern and Contemporary Art
Deacon William Mann
Julius T. Bloch, American (born Germany), 1888 - 1966
Oil on canvas
Currently not on view
2002-242-1Purchased with funds contributed by John H. McFadden and Lisa D. Kabnick in honor of Alexandra Q. Aldridge, 2002
LabelJulius Bloch, who emigrated from Germany to Philadelphia at the age of five, was an active and well-known member of Philadelphia art circles throughout his long career. Trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the Barnes Collection, Bloch developed his own style of American Social Realism that placed an emphasis on strong outline and sober color. Bloch's mature paintings concentrated on the lives and humanity of the people he admired, which range from the leaders of the African-American community to working-class subjects, such as coal miners and victims of prejudice. His compassionate portrayal of the people he encountered in Philadelphia helped reduce the overwhelming political and economic complexities of the Depression era to a human scale. William Mann, the subject of this seated portrait, worked as both a plumber and a church deacon, although in Bloch's sympathetic portrayal the sitter is imbued with all the gravitas and dignity that one would expect in a representation of a judge or a United States president.