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Robert Frederick Blum
Born in Cincinnati, American Impressionist Robert Blum studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia before moving to New York, but it was a sojourn to Venice that proved especially influential. There he worked with former teacher Frank Duveneck and close friend William Merritt Chase. His neighbor at the time was James Abbott McNeill Whistler, who encouraged the younger artist to experiment with pastels and study the principles of Japanese design, a topic that interested Blum throughout his life, culminating with a trip to Japan from 1890 to 1892. A leading artist in pastel, Blum would inspire writer Oscar Wilde to humorously remark, "your exquisite pastels give me the sensation of eating yellow satin."