Ilya Bolotowsky

American, 1907 - 1981
Ilya Bolotowsky was a Russian-born American painter best known for his adoption of the De Stijl principles espoused by Piet Mondrian. Bolotowsky incorporated geometric forms and colors outside of the structure and colors of De Stijl to create an aesthetically independent body work based in meditative color relationships. “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,” he once remarked. Born on July 1, 1907 in St. Petersburg, Russia, Bolotowsky immigrated to New York in 1923, where he attended the National Academy of Design and met fellow students Adolph Gottlieb and Mark Rothko. Commissioned by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), Bolotowsky created several abstract murals, including those for the Williamsburg Housing Project in Brooklyn. He went on to teach at the Black Mountain College from 1946–1948, where he notably tutored the painter Kenneth Noland. Bolotowsky was the subject of a retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1974. The artist died on November 22, 1981 in New York, NY. In 2012, a North Carolina woman purchased two $10 paintings at a local Goodwill for the purpose of reusing them for her own pet portraits. It was later confirmed that these two paintings were those of Bolotowsky, one of which, Vertical Diamond (1966), was sold at a Sotheby’s auction later that year for $34,375. Today, his works can be found in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among others.
Ilya Bolotowsky paintings
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