Ilya Bolotowsky

A founding member of the American Abstract Artists, a group that rejected the popular realist imagery of the day, Ilya Bolotowsky was one of the few artists to create an abstract mural for the WPA. His biomorphic forms gave way to the grids, shaped canvases, and the use of primary colors interacting with white space—which operate as bands or lines. Bolotowsky was influenced by his countryman Kazimir Malevich, and when he first saw the paintings of Piet Mondrian in 1933, he was strongly impacted by the ideology of Neo-Plasticism. An exemplary work is

Naples Yellow and Grey

(1958), where Bolotowsky delivers a nuanced work without the use of primary colors. Instead, he punctuates gradations of white, greys, and the warmth of Naples Yellow with slender rectangles of aqua blue, dusty rose, and bluish purple—all of equal intensities.

Courtesy of Anita Shapolsky