Jules Olitski

Jules Olitski was a Russian-born American artist. Credited with helping develop the movement of Color Field painting in the mid-1960s, Olitski focused on the material qualities of surface and color in painting, rather than the personal expression of the artist. He pioneered a technique using an industrial spray gun to lightly apply paint on unprimed canvas, creating an effect of hazy color suspended midair. Even after returning to the brush, Olitski maintained this airy interaction of color and light. The artist was born Jevel Demikovski on March 27, 1922 in Snovsk, Russia, months after his father was executed by the recently established Soviet government. He, along with his mother and grandmother, emigrated to Brooklyn in 1923, where he took his stepfather’s last name Olitsky, changing the last letter to “i.” He represented the United States in the 1966 Venice Biennale, and was given the first solo exhibition for a living American artist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1969. Olitski died on February 4, 2007 in New York, NY.

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