(1907 - 1981)
Oil on canvas
14 x 26 inches
Signed and dated '51

The artist
Private collection, New York City
Rehs Galleries, Inc., New York City
Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida
Private collection

Born in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1907, Ilya Bolotowsky became 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 greatly influenced by Dutch painter Piet Mondrian.


Bolotowsky immigrated to New York in 1923 and became a United States citizen in 1929. He studied from 1924 to 1930 at the National Academy of Design; in 1930 Bolotowsky received his first one-man show at New York’s G.R.D. Studios. In 1932, during a trip to Europe, he became interested in the cubist style of Pablo Picasso and Fernand Léger. During the early 1930s, he became associated with a group called The Ten, artists including Louis Schanker, Adolph Gottlieb, Mark Rothko and Joseph Solman  who were exploring the use of abstraction for expressive purposes.


In his early works, Bolotowsky formed abstract images on the flat picture plane by combining biomorphic and geometric elements inspired by both Miró and the Russian Constructivist Kasimir Malevich. This style particularly characterized Bolotowsky’s mural for the Williamsburg Housing Project, New York; it was one of the first abstract murals done under the Federal Art Project.*


In 1936 Bolotowsky became one of the founding members of the American Abstract Artists, a New York organization that opposed realistic styles and embraced non-objective subjects based on pure form and color. In 1940 Piet Mondrian moved to New York, and it was the pure geometric abstraction of the older artist’s work that had profound influence on Bolotowsky’s art. Mondrian’s stylistic clarity aided Bolotowsky in his goal to strip his paintings of any direct reference to nature and explore universal balance. Unlike Mondrian, however, Bolotowsky did not limit himself to primary colors in his painting, preferring instead to emphasize a variety of colors and geometric forms.


During World War II, Bolotowsky worked for a while in Alaska as a translator. When he returned to the “lower 48” in 1946, he taught at Black Mountain College, an important art school in North Carolina, replacing Josef Albers, who was on sabbatical leave. He stayed there until 1948 and then took teaching positions at other schools, among them the University of Wyoming, State Teacher’s College, New Paltz, New York, the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater and in the1960's he  taught humanities and fine arts at the Southampton, NY campus of Long Island University. In 1974 Bolotowsky received his first one-man museum show, held at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Bolotowsky died in New York in 1981.


*(The Federal Arts Project (FAP) was the visual arts arm of the Great Depression-era New Deal WPA Federal One program in the United States. Reputed to have created more than 200,000 separate works, FAP artists created posters, murals and paintings; some of which stand among the most significant pieces of public art in the country. Opening August 29, 1935, as the latest in a short series of Depression-art visual arts programs, it closed on June 30, 1943. Its primary goals were to employ out-of-work artists and to provide art for non-federal government buildings: county courthouses, post offices, libraries and the like.)






Ilya Bolotowsky - wikilpedia.org

Federal Arts Project - wikipedia.org

Ilya Bolotowsky - www.phillipscollection.org/




Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA

Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Ct

Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, Al

Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York

Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, PA

Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA

Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH

Robert Hull Fleming Museum, Burlington, VT

Gotheborg Museum, Gotheborg, Sweden

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY

Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.

Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN

University of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa City, IA

Jerusalem Museum, Jerusalem, Israel

Lyman Alyn Museum, New London, CT

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY

Michener Art Museum, University of Texas, Austin, TX

University of Minnesota, Duluth, MN

Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, Utica, NY

Musee d'Art Moderne, Ceret, France

Museum of Fine Arts, Calcutta, India

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, FL

Museum of Modern Art, New York,NY

National Collection of Fine Arts Washington, D.C.

Newark Museum Association, Newark, NJ

New Jersey State Museum, Trenton NJ

University of New Mexico, Albuqueque,NM

North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC

Oklahoma Art Center, Oklahoma City, OK

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA

Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.

Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, R.I.

Edward Root Collection, Utica, New York

Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA

Salt Lake City Art Center, Salt LAke City

San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA

Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, Lincoln, NB

Slater Memorial Museum, Norwich, CT

Societe Anonyme Yale University, New Haven, CT

J.B. Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY

The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Il

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH

Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN

Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT.

Virtual Exhibition Index next prev
AIRY, ANNA (1882 - 1964)The Little Mirror
BARBER, CHARLES BURTON (1845 - 1894)Off to School
BOLOTOWSKY, ILYA (1907 - 1981)Abstract
BONHEUR, AUGUSTE (1824 - 1884)Ploughing in the Nivernais
BONHEUR, ROSA (1822 - 1899)Couching Lion
BOUDIN, EUGENE LOUIS (1824 - 1898)La bassin, Deauville
BOUGUEREAU, WILLIAM A. (1825 - 1905)La Frileuse
BOUGUEREAU, WILLIAM A. (1825 - 1905)Marchande de grenades (Pomegranate Seller)
CHAIGNEAU, JEAN F. (1830 - 1906)Le Jardin de l'Artiste
CHOULTSE, IVAN F. (b.1877)Nuit de Mars, Russie
CLAYS, PAUL JEAN (1819 - 1900)Shipping on the Scheldt
COALE, GRIFFITH BAILEY (1890 - 1950)The Baltimore Flower Mart - 1915
COROT, JEAN-BAPTISTE-CAMILLE (1796 - 1875)Pâturage dans les marais (Souvenir des environs d'Amiens)
CORTÈS, EDOUARD LEON (1882 - 1969)The Breton Family
DAWSON, MONTAGUE (1895 - 1973)The Pirate's Cove, Wafer Bay, Cocos Island
DIÉTERLE, MARIE (1856 - 1935)Troupeau dans un chemin creux
DRUMMOND, ARTHUR (1871 - 1951)Victorian Fantasy
DUPRÉ, JULES (1811 - 1889)Environs de Plymouth
DUPRÉ, JULIEN (1851 - 1910)La rentrée au village
DUPRE, JULIEN (1851 - 1910)La Prairie
DUPRE, JULIEN (1851 - 1910)Glaneuses
ELSLEY, ARTHUR J. (1860 - 1952)Good Night
FISHER, R.A., WILLIAM MARK (1841-1923)In the Garden
FRERE, CHARLES THEODORE (1814 - 1888)A Caravan Crossing the Desert
GIRARDET, EUGENE ALEXIS (1853 - 1907)Outside the Mosque
GIRARDET, EUGENE ALEXIS (1853 - 1907)The Wailing Wall
HERBO, LEON (1850 - 1907)La Charmeuse
ISRAELS, ISAAC (1865 - 1934)Dancing at the Moulin de la Galette
JOUBERT, LEON (fl.1883 - 1900)Un Coin de Seine a Lavacourt
KNIGHT, DANIEL RIDGWAY (1839 - 1924)A Pensive Moment
KNIGHT, DANIEL RIDGWAY (1839 - 1924)En Vendanges
LUNY, THOMAS (1759 - 1837)Engagement Between Sir George Brydges Rodney and the Spanish Squadron, Commanded by Don Juan de Langara, Near Cape St. Vincent, January 16, 1780
MARCKE DE LUMMEN, EMILE VAN (1827 - 1890)Vaches a Pâture
MOREAU, ADRIEN (1843-1906)Une Mascarade au XVII Siecle
MOSTYN, TOM (1864 - 1930)Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May
MUNIER, EMILE (1840 - 1895)La retour du marché
MUNIER, EMILE (1840 - 1895)May I Have One Too
PERRAULT, LEON J.B. (1832 - 1908)Away From Home
PERRAULT, LEON J.B. (1832 - 1908)Sleeping Putto
PERUGINI , CHARLES EDWARD (1839-1918)The Green Lizard
RIGOLOT, ALBERT GABRIEL (1862 - 1932)Soleil Levant dans la Brume
ROSSI, ALEXANDER MARK (FL.1870 - 1903)Forbidden Books
ROSSI, ALEXANDER MARK (FL.1870 - 1903) May I Have This Dance?
SALMON, ROBERT (1775 - c.1845) The Estridge off Dover
SCHIELE, EGON (1890 - 1918)Semi-nude with Green Stockings from the Back
SCHRYVER, LOUIS MARIE DE (1862 - 1942)A Young Man's Fancy
SCHRYVER, LOUIS MARIE DE (1862 - 1942)Après l’averse; - place du Théâtre-Français
SEIGNAC, GUILLAUME (1870 - 1924)Reflections
SISLEY, ALFRED (1839 - 1899)La Seine à Suresnes
TOPHAM, FRANCIS W.W. (1838 - 1924)Young Girl on a Swing
WARDLE, ARTHUR (1864 – 1949)The Deer-Stealer
WILLIAMS, EDWARD CHARLES (1807 - 1881)The Old Roadside Inn