Open Diamond


Ilya Bolotowsky ( American, 1907 - 1981 )

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General Description

Dramatically large in scale and bold in color and execution, this painting is both a dazzling example of Ilya Bolotowsky's artistic concerns and a testimony to the rich interchange between European and American modernism in the 20th century. Marked by the influence of Piet Mondrian, the painting also represents an important transition in the development of American art, when artists sought to develop a language of abstraction in contrast to the popular and critical taste for American Scene painting prior to the Second World War.

Open Diamond was painted in the early 1950s at the University of Wyoming, Laramie, where Bolotowsky taught for nearly a decade. During this period, he increasingly avoided using black paint in his work and his interest in experimental canvas shapes led from triangular and diamond-shaped canvases such as this, to the ovoid forms of the 1960s and 1970s. Instead of representing visible objects, he used color juxtapositions and rhythmic placement of shapes to give his paintings a sense of action and vibration.

Drawn from

  • Bonnie Pitman, ed., Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012), 283.
  • Ilya Bolotowsky, "On Neoplasticism and My Own Work: A Memoir," Leonardo, vol 2 (1969): 221-230.

Fun Facts

  • Ilya Bolotowsky was nicknamed "Boly" by his close friends.