The title refers to a white, gauzy veil known as the “bloom” that covers grapes at harvest time. Steele said the hazy, frosty days of late October and early November reminded him of the bloom of the grape.
Although Steele was aware of contemporary art movements, he likely only encountered Impressionism in person at Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair. Painted just after his visit, The Bloom of the Grape, with its colorful violets complemented by yellows and oranges, shifts Steele’s style toward Impressionism.
One of Steele’s most celebrated landscapes, this painting received an honorable mention at the 1900 World's Fair in Paris and brought international attention to Indiana painting.