An eastern Iowa artist who died last year will be honored with an exhibit opening today in her hometown. Isabel Bloom sculpted with cement and clay and created a wide array of whimsical animals, cherubs and children. Some of her early works are the subject of the exhibit at the Davenport Museum of Art, where Angie Carlson is spokeswoman. She says there are about two-dozen sculptures and a few paintings, all originals, done early in her career. The exhibit is called “Isabel Bloom: 50 Years of Sculpture.” Most of the works are from the 1960s and ’70s but one goes back to 1939, with the newest done in 1989. Carlson says Bloom is a local treasure who went on to open a chain of stores in Iowa and Illinois to sell her sculptures.Bloom studied at Stone City with another great Iowa artist, Grant Wood, who’s best known for his “American Gothic” painting. Carlson says Bloom was the first to create what’s now known as garden art.She crafted her own unique technique by fashioning a chicken wire frame and then applied cement in layers as you would clay and sculpted sort of from the outside in. The exhibit will be at the Davenport museum through December 8th. Born in 1908, Bloom died in May 2001 after a decades-long battle with Parkinson’s Disease.
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