Jump to content

Ilya Bolotowsky

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ilya Bolotowsky
Bolotowsky in 1938
Born(1907-07-01)July 1, 1907
DiedNovember 22, 1981(1981-11-22) (aged 74)
New York City, U.S.
EducationNational Academy of Design
Known forPainting, murals, art education
MovementAbstract art, cubism, geometric abstraction, neoclassicism

Ilya Bolotowsky (July 1, 1907 – November 22, 1981) was an early 20th-century Russian-American 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 influenced by Dutch painter Piet Mondrian.



Born to Jewish parents in St. Petersburg, Russia, Bolotowsky lived in Baku and Constantinople before immigrating to the United States in 1923, where he settled in New York City. He attended the National Academy of Design.[1] He became associated with a group called "The Ten Whitney Dissenters"[2] or simply "The Ten", a group of artists including Louis Schanker, Adolph Gottlieb, Mark Rothko, Ben-Zion, and Joseph Solman who rebelled against the strictures of the Academy and held independent exhibitions.[3]

Bolotowsky was strongly influenced by Dutch painter Piet Mondrian[4][5][6] and the tenets of De Stijl, 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.[7][8]

Ilya Bolotowsky (left)
Bolotowsky mural for the Williamsburg Housing Project

Bolotowsky's 1936 mural for the Williamsburg Housing Project in Brooklyn[9] was one of the first abstract murals done under the Federal Art Project.[10]

In the 1960s, he began making three-dimensional forms, usually vertical and straight-sided. Bolotowsky's work was exhibited at the University of New Mexico in 1970.[11]

Bolotowsky's first solo museum show was in 1974 at New York City's Guggenheim Museum and went on to the National Collection of Fine Arts.[1][12][13]

His work has been exhibited at the Anita Shapolsky Gallery in New York City.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20]

A Bolotowsky painting bought at a North Carolina Goodwill store for $9.99 was auctioned at Sotheby's in September 2012 for $34,375.[21]



Bolotowsky taught at Black Mountain College from 1946 to 1948.[22][23] The artists Kenneth Noland and Ruth Asawa were among his students.[24][25][26] He taught humanities and fine arts at the Southampton, New York campus of Long Island University, the State University of New York at New Paltz, the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, and the University of New Mexico.[27]




  1. ^ a b Susan Behrends Frank (ed). 2013. Made in the U.S.A.: American art from the Phillips Collection, 1850–1970. Yale University Press. p. 234.
  2. ^ "The Ten Whitney Dissenters". louisschanker.info. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved December 17, 2010.
  3. ^ Weiss, Jeffrey; Gage, John; Rothko, Mark (1998). Mark Rothko. Yale University Press. p. 337. ISBN 978-0-300-08193-0. The Ten, artists rothko bolotowsky.
  4. ^ Bolotowsky, Ilya (1974). Ilya Bolotowsky: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. mondrian bolotowsky.
  5. ^ Perl, Jed (June 3, 2009). New Art City: Manhattan at Mid-Century. Knopf Doubleday Publishing. ISBN 978-0-307-53888-8.
  6. ^ Noll, Anna C.; Kass, Emily; Blume, Sharon (1987). "Collection Selections".
  7. ^ Jones, Amelia (February 9, 2009). A Companion to Contemporary Art Since 1945. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-4051-5235-8.
  8. ^ Institute, Carnegie (1981). "Carnegie Magazine".
  9. ^ Burns, Sarah L.; Carbone, Teresa A.; Madsen, Annelise K.; Oehler, Sarah Kelly (2016). America After the Fall: Painting in the 1930s. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-21485-7.
  10. ^ "New York Magazine". May 28, 1990.
  11. ^ Bolotowsky, Ilya (1970). "Ilya Bolotowsky; Paintings & Columns".
  12. ^ J.D. Cohn. Bolotowsky paintings & columns, March 30 – April 25, 1974. Borgenicht Gallery, New York City.
  13. ^ Ilya Bolotowsky. 1974. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City.
  14. ^ Salvesen, Magda; Cousineau, Diane (2005). Artists' Estates: Reputations in Trust. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 978-0-8135-3604-0. Archived from the original on June 23, 2015. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  15. ^ "The Expressive Edge of Paper". The Huffington Post. March 18, 2014. Archived from the original on March 12, 2015. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  16. ^ "'The Hard Line' Exhibit Highlights Artists' Use of Color | Highbrow Magazine". October 22, 2014. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  17. ^ Art in America: Annual guide to galleries, museums, artists. 2002. Archived from the original on June 23, 2015. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  18. ^ "New York Magazine". June 13, 1994. Archived from the original on April 12, 2016. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  19. ^ "New York Magazine". May 14, 1990. Archived from the original on June 21, 2015. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  20. ^ "New York Magazine". December 24–31, 1990. Archived from the original on July 13, 2015. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  21. ^ "Surprise Find at Goodwill Store Brings Thousands". kovels.com. September 26, 2012.
  22. ^ "Artists & Designers - Ilya Bolotowsky (1907-1981) - DMA Collection Online".
  23. ^ Morgan, Ann Lee (October 4, 2018). The Oxford Dictionary of American Art & Artists. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-107388-5.
  24. ^ "Line of Spirit". 1993.
  25. ^ "Kenneth Noland". Archived from the original on June 2, 2019. Retrieved December 8, 2019.
  26. ^ Katz, Vincent (October 7, 2013). "Vincent Katz on Ruth Asawa (1926–2013)". www.artforum.com. Retrieved March 3, 2023.
  27. ^ John Krushenick. Ilya Bolotowsky, April 21 – May 28, 1978. Exhibition catalog. Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, Indiana.
  28. ^ "Ilya Bolotowsky | Large Blue Horizontal".
  29. ^ "Ilya Bolotowsky | MoMA".
  30. ^ "Ilya Bolotowsky | Smithsonian American Art Museum".