Ilya Bolotowsky American, 1907-1981

Overview

Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Ilya Bolotowsky immigrated with his family to New York City in 1923, and the following year began studying at the National Academy of Design. He had his first one-man-show at G.R.D. Studios in 1930. Within the decade, he would become a member of "The Ten," a group of artists including Mark Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb who explored the use of abstraction for expressive purposes. Heavily influenced by the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian, whose work he first saw in 1933, Bolotowsky was initially inspired by Cubism and De Stijl, but evolved throughout his career to give way to an austere brand of geometric abstraction based upon line, shape, and color. In 1937, he became a founding member of the American Abstract Artists, who rejected American Scene painting. Bolotowsky turned gradually toward a clear and precise style reliant upon sharply defined linear structures, which varied in shape over the course of his career. His aim was to generate order through geometric abstraction and equilibrium. As the artist himself noted:

 

"Nowadays, when paintings torture the retina, when music gradually destroys the eardrum, there must, all the more, be a need for an art that searches for new ways to achieve harmony and equilibrium."

—Ilya Bolotowsky, 1974

 

His work espouses the aesthetic principles of Neo-Plasticism, the style for which he became a well-known arbiter. Bolotowsky's diamond-shaped canvases have brought results as high as $53,000 at auction to date. 

Museums and Public Collections

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 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

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