Ilya Bolotowsky in 1938,
from the Archives of American Art
July 1, 1907|
St. Petersburg, Russia
|Died||November 22, 1981(aged 74)|
|Education||National Academy of Design|
|Known for||Painting, murals, art education|
|Movement||Abstract art, cubism, geometric abstraction, neoclassicism|
Ilya Bolotowsky (July 1, 1907 – November 22, 1981) was a leading early 20th-century painter in abstract styles in New York City. His work, a search for philosophical order through visual expression, embraced cubism and geometric abstraction and was much influenced by Dutch painter Piet Mondrian.
Born to Jewish parents in St. Petersburg, Russia, Bolotowsky moved to Baku and Constantinople, and immigrated to the United States in 1923, settling in New York City. He attended the National Academy of Design. He became associated with a group called "The Ten Whitney Dissenters," or simply "The Ten," artists, including Louis Schanker, Adolph Gottlieb, Mark Rothko and Joseph Solman, who rebelled against the strictures of the Academy and held independent exhibitions.
Bolotowsky was mentored by Dutch painter Piet Mondrian and the tenets of neoplasticism, a movement that advocated the possibility of ideal order in the visual arts. Bolotowsky adopted Mondrian's use of horizontal and vertical geometric pattern and a palette restricted to primary colors and neutrals.
Having turned to geometric abstractions, in 1936 Bolotowsky co-founded American Abstract Artists, a cooperative formed to promote the interests of abstract painters and to increase understanding between themselves and the public.
Bolotowsky's mural for the Williamsburg Housing Project in Brooklyn was one of the first abstract murals done under the Federal Art Project. Despite Bolotowsky's clear, precise control of his images, he emphasized the role of intuition over formula in determining his compositions.
In the 1960s, he began making three-dimensional forms, usually vertical and straight-sided. He taught humanities and fine arts at the Southampton, New York campus of Long Island University, the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, and the University of New Mexico. Bolotowsky's work was exhibited at the University of New Mexico in 1970.
- Susan Behrends Frank (ed). 2013. Made in the U.S.A.: American art from the Phillips Collection, 1850-1970. Yale University Press. p. 234.
- "The Ten Whitney Dissenters". louisschanker.info. Retrieved 17 December 2010.
- John Krushenick. Ilya Bolotowsky, April 21-May 28, 1978. Exhibition catalog. Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, Indiana.
- J.D. Cohn. Bolotowsky paintings & columns, March 30-April 25, 1974. Borgenicht Gallery, New York City.
- Ilya Bolotowsky. 1974. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City.
- "Surprise Find at Goodwill Store Brings Thousands". kovels.com. 26 September 2012.
- List of artworks by Ilya Bolotowsky at The Smithsonian American Art Museum
- American Abstract Artists
- Vivien Raynor. Art: Ilya Borotowsky. New York Times, February 4, 1983
- Image and artist bio at Rehs Galleries, Inc.