* 1907 St. Petersburg
† 1981 New York
Among the artists of American geometric abstraction, Ilya Bolotowsky occupies one of the front ranks.
Ilya Bolotowsky was born in Russia in 1907, in St. Petersburg , to be more exact. On the eve of the revolution the family emigrated to New York in 1923.
This was where Ilya Bolotowsky studied at the National Academy of Design between 1924 and 1930. As early as in 1930 he had his first solo show in a gallery.
As a member of "The Ten", together with artists like Mark Rothko, Ilya Bolotowsky initially experimented with expressive styles in the 1930s but soon focussed on biomorph methods of abstraction. Ilya Bolotowsky was one of the founding fathers of "American Abstract Artists", a group that stood for the abstract avant-garde movement in New York in the 1930s and 1940s. He soon increased his oeuvre by object pictures, graphic works and experimental films.
Ilya Bolotowsky developed his personal style from European and Russian sources of inspiration: in 1932 Ilya Bolotowsky traveled Europe and encountered Cubism, but he was also fascinated by Joan Miró's or Hans Arp's biomorph abstraction. The geometric art of Kasimir Malewitsch and, most of all, Piet Mondrian, who had developed a purely geometric method of abstraction with "De Stijl", encouraged Ilya Bolotowsky to take a step from biomorph abstraction to a clear geometric abstraction in the late 1930s.
After World War II Ilya Bolotowsky followed a call to the Black Mountain College in North Carolina in 1946, further lectureships followed. Despite his success as an artist, Ilya Bolotowsky did not have his first solo show at a museum before 1974. However, it was the Guggenheim Museum in New York no less that showed Ilya Bolotowsky's paintings in a comprehensive retrospective.
In 1981 Ilya Bolotowsky died in New York.