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Artists Jules Olitski
Jules Olitski Photo

Jules Olitski

Russian-American Painter

Movement: Color Field Painting

Born: March 27, 1922 - Snovsk, Ukraine

Died: February 4, 2007 - New York, New York

Jules Olitski Timeline

"Color in color is felt at any and every place of the pictorial organization; in its immediacy - its particularity. Color must be felt throughout."

Jules Olitski Signature

Summary

Jules Olitski was a Russian-born American painter who was instrumental in the development of the Color Field school. Like his contemporaries Helen Frankenthaler and Morris Louis, Olitski stained the surface of his canvases in a technique that rejected the gestural brushwork of the then-popular Abstract Expressionist artists. With their emphasis on material, surface, and color's emotional strength, his signature works eliminated the illusion of depth and any evidence of the artist's touch. Although Olitski did not remain as well known as some of his fellow Color Field painters, his abstract "spray paintings" of the 1960s are still considered landmark works of this movement.

Key Ideas

Olitski was interested in conveying the evocative power of pure color. In his paintings of the 1960s and 1970s, he rejected any suggestion of imagery or narrative, taking abstraction to its outer limits.
Olitski pioneered a technique of applying paint to unprimed canvases with an industrial spray gun. He was thus able to show the paint at its airiest and most dematerialized, as though it were still floating in the air rather than fixed on the canvas. In this way, Olitski directed the viewer's attention to the essential qualities of color itself.
The misty fields of paint in Olitski's signature works are remarkable for their subtle tonal gradations and their luminosity. Even in his later work, when he used heavy brushwork and a denser application of pigment, Olitski masterfully explored chromatic relationships and the interaction between color and light.
Jules Olitski Photo

Jules Olitski was born Jevel Demikovsky in Snovsk, Russia (now Ukraine), on March 27, 1922. His Bolshevik father was executed by the White Russian army a few months before his birth. In 1923 his mother and grandmother brought him to the United States, where the family started a new life in Brooklyn, New York. His mother remarried in 1926, and he took the surname of his mother's new husband, Hyman Olitsky. He changed the spelling of his name later in life after it was misprinted in a clerical error.

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Jules Olitski
Interactive chart with Jules Olitski's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
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Helen FrankenthalerHelen Frankenthaler
Clyfford StillClyfford Still
Ossip ZadkineOssip Zadkine

Personal Contacts

Clement GreenbergClement Greenberg
Hilton KramerHilton Kramer
Kenneth NolandKenneth Noland
Ellsworth KellyEllsworth Kelly
Morris LouisMorris Louis

Movements

FauvismFauvism
Abstract ExpressionismAbstract Expressionism

Influences on Artist
Jules Olitski
Jules Olitski
Years Worked: late 1940s - 2007
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Frank StellaFrank Stella
Al HeldAl Held

Personal Contacts

Michael FriedMichael Fried
Rosalind KraussRosalind Krauss

Movements

Color Field PaintingColor Field Painting
Post-Painterly AbstractionPost-Painterly Abstraction
MinimalismMinimalism
Lyrical AbstractionLyrical Abstraction

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Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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First published on 17 May 2015. Updated and modified regularly.
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