Born: Paris, France, 1961
In 1964, at the age of three, Henry Bismuth began drawing. Recognizing and encouraging his interest, his Father took him regularly to the Louvre where he became familiar with the work of European artists as well as Egyptian, Greek and other of the ancients. At the age of twelve, he was given a book on Japanese blockprints. His fascination with the subject led to the inauguration of his collection of art books and catalogues.
In 1979, he visited the United States for the first time and spent considerable time at museums in New York City and Washington, DC. It was in the National Gallery in Washington, DC, that he fell in love with Rubens’ Daniel in the Lions’ Den. When he returned home to France, he began studying on his own the work of Rubens, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Velasquez, Gericault, and Delacroix.
From 1979 to 1986, he was a student at the Faculté de Medecine Xavier Bichat, Paris VII, France. Coming from a family of medical doctors, it was understood that he would undertake medical studies.
In 1985, he married and his first son was born.
In 1986, at the end of his next to final year, Henry Bismuth left medical school. He had arrived at the realization that his path was not healing of the body but rather it was healing of the soul through art. He, then, dedicated his life to his passion, painting and drawing. From then to 1988, he studied art on his own and, also, with John Buscema, a renowned artist. He discovered different artistic traditions and pictorial worlds. It was during this period that his life was forever changed. It was impacted by the discovery over a six-month period in New York City of the paintings of American artists: John Singer Sargent, Thomas Eakins, Robert Henri, Georgia O’Keeffe, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, and Andrew Wyeth. Shortly after this, his interest expanded to modern and contemporary art although in his first paintings the influence of Japan remained dominant.
In December, 1988, his first two one-man shows were held. One was in Paris, the other in Brussels. His interest in Kabuki – one form of Japanese theater – served as a base to present his vision of life.
Thereafter, he took part in collective exhibitions in France, Russia, Spain, Japan, and Denmark. Also, during this period, he began his exploration into different mediums – oil and watercolor – and started to work extensively on assemblages.
In the Spring of 1990, Galerie Ariane in Paris held a major exhibition of his new paintings and assemblages.
In 1991, his second son was born.
In 1992, two years later, Galerie Ariane presented a new body of his work which showed his ability to experiment and innovate. As Japanese references began to shed their importance, everyday life assumed precedence. Whatever he encountered became art and part of his painting.
In 1994, Galerie Ariane exhibited his first paintings of corvids surprising his audience and patrons alike. Corvids had intertwined with his life and become the seed of an important theme shortly after the conclusion of his prior show when they invaded and over populated his neighborhood.
In 1994, he received an award in recognition of his excellence at the Salon des Artistes Naturaliste in Brysur Marne, France.
One year later, in 1995, The Raven, the largest of his paintings on corvids, was selected to be exhibited in the Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin as part of their twenty-fifth anniversary celebration of Birds in Art, which is held annually. The Raven subsequently became part of their permanent collection. With this show, his exhibitions in the United States began.
By the end of 1995, he completed a painting of magpies commissioned by the Newcastle Football Club in the United Kingdom.
In April, 1996, he was invited by the Woodson Art Museum to show in what became the final edition of their biennial exhibition, "Wildlife: The Artist’s View." This trip to the United States was particularly significant because it influenced his future direction initiating an intense period of reflection and spiritual research, and serious interest in Hebrew mysticism. His vision of life changed as did his way of doing and seeing things. He realized that there was a difference between knowing the path and walking the path. He made the decision to walk his path, understanding that he had to do so in order to find it. Thus, his choices became different. His interest was in the transformation of what was living, the transmutation of matter. He became aware of the passage of time, of what was lasting and what was ephemeral. He studied all religions, seeking their common root. He realized that if one remained in the branches, one emphasized separativity, but if one went to the root, one found unity. This began an intense period of drawing from the figure using various models, painting birds and unusual still-lifes.
In the Fall of 1996, the Musée Histoire de Naturelle in Paris organized their first exhibition of "Contemporary Naturalism." Three of his largest corvid paintings were shown for the occasion and a detail of one of them served as the image for both the invitation and the show’s poster.
From December, 1997 through January, 1998, he had a one-man show entitled "Crows and Flying Pumpkins" at Galerie 23 in Barbizon, France. This exhibition was his first personal show since Galerie Ariane in 1994 and reflected the new direction of his work.
From September, 1995, when he had his first show at the Woodson Art Museum in Wisconsin and the end of 1998, he had sixteen group shows in various United States museums including in Wyoming, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, Texas, Ohio, and one in Canada.
From the international exhibition, "Ocean and Other Images," at the Gallery Petronas in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1999, through Spring, 2001, his time was devoted to his studies. (It was during this period and until Spring, 2005, that he lectured in Paris on mysticism.) He was interested in how we think and translating that juxtaposition of ideas and images into his paintings. He noticed how recurrent images were entering his work and realized how interesting it became to link all the different themes together even though there was no apparent connection. This resulted in his production of unique individual paintings composed of multiple images.
From Spring, 2001 till the end of 2007, his work became increasingly autobiographical. Rather than painting linearly one series after another of the same subject, he worked spirally with one series simultaneously enriching another. In October, 2007, he was awarded second place at the 21st Prix de Peinture in Saint-Grégoire, France, for two of his paintings.
After several years’ absence, in the Spring of 2008, on a visit to New York City, he reconnected with past and contemporary American art. He felt rejuvenated just as he had when he first experienced it fourteen years prior.
From 2008 to the Spring of 2010, he commuted between Paris and New York City. His focus was less on painting than on conceptualization. His work was undergoing a major shift. We now see emerging something new as the means became at his disposal to attain his purpose. The combination of painterly conceptual and poetic maneuvering was what shaped his process now.
In 2009, he started to exhibit his paintings with Gerald Peters Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has continued to exhibit with them through and including 2013.
From January, 2010 to Winter, 2012, his painting, The Sentinels, was on loan to the Thailand Embassy to the United Nations in New York, New York.
In April, 2010, he and his wife of many years divorced.
From November 30th through December 5th, 2010, he exhibited at “Arts for a Better World,” Art Basel Miami Week. A selection of the works he presented there initiated his Asian Vision Series, which he would spend the next 4+ years developing (merging them into The Alchemy of Images Series in 2015). In conjunction therewith, he continued painting and showing his other themes, linking them together. His goal was a cohesive whole of everything that entered his life.
In January, 2011, he and Susan C. Beer co-founded Turtles & Ravens LLC.
On September 3rd, 2011, his exhibit opened at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Titled "Western Visions," it is a prestigious, nationally recognized invitation-only group show. This was Bismuth’s 36th museum group show in the United States.
From October 7th through November 12th, 2011, his work was exhibited by Gerald Peters Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico in a group show titled "American Realism." Comprised primarily of contemporary painters, this show included the work of Andrew Wyeth, the man he considers the key influencer in his transition from medicine to art.
On June 8th, 2012, his 3-person exhibit opened at Visions West Gallery in Bozeman, Montana. Titled "Hop, Skip, and a Jump across the Pond," it continued on to Visions West Galleries’ locations in Livingston, Montana, and Denver, Colorado.
On September, 2012, his paintings were again exhibited at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This was his thirty-seventh museum group show in the United States.
From September 6, 2012 to June 28, 2013, his painting Pardes: A Garden of Pomegranates was included at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion Museum in New York, New York in their invitational exhibit titled "Spectrum of Sexuality." This painting thereafter spent one and one half years on traveling exhibition commencing at the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma, continuing from there to the Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and concluding at the Charter Oak Cultural Center in Hartford, Connecticut. It was the first time he linked his cultural and spiritual heritage as a Sephardic Jew from Tunisia born and raised in Paris with his Asian Vision Series.
In January, 2013, he began sharing his developing Asian Vision Series of paintings with a select international community of Asian key influencers. His concept of art as a universal language linking people through seeing with the "eye" and the "I" began to receive recognition.
In Summer 2013, his corvid paintings were included in Gerald Peters Gallery group show on Naturalism in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
In July 2013, a selection of both his Corvid Series and his Skull Series paintings were exhibited at Visions West Gallery in Bozeman, Montana.
From September, 2013 to late June, 2014, his painting, The Seventh Day, was included at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion Museum in New York, New York in their invitational exhibition titled "The Seventh Day: Revisiting Shabbat." The Seventh Day is now in the permanent collection of the museum.
In January, 2014, he relocated his studio to a larger entity further north in Westchester County, New York.
In April, 2014, his The Alchemy of Image Series was given birth.
In June, 2014, his in-process Asian Vision Series was shared for the first time with a select audience at Turtles and Ravens Gallery in North Salem, New York.
From January 29, 2015 thru March, 2015 three of his paintings were on exhibit at Oak & Oil Gallery in Katonah, New York in nine-person show titled "Under the Radar" pursuant to an article of the same title in "Westchester Magazine."
In June, 2015, his paintings on the Silk Road were presented for preview to a select audience at Turtles and Ravens Gallery in North Salem, New York.
In July, 2015, he accepted to work with the not-for-profit, Global Scribes Inc., Youth Uniting Nations™- please see PHILANTHROPY for further details.
In August, 2015, he began a five-year initiative with the SPCA of Westchester for benefit of their Adult Dog Adoption Program. Please see PHILANTHROPY for further details.
In September, 2015, he merged his Asian Vision Series and his paintings on the Silk Road into The Alchemy of Images Series.
On July 19th, 2016, the inaugural presentation of his series, The Alchemy of Images, at the Confucius Institute for Business @ SUNY Global Center in New York, NY inaugurated their 2016-2017 Chinese Art Series.
From September 8th, 2016 to June 30th, 2017, his painting, Fourteen, will be included at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion Museum in New York, New York in their invitational exhibition titled “Paint by Numbers.” Fourteen was selected as the invitation cover.