© Estate of Ilya Bolotowsky, ARS NY/IVARO Dublin, 2020
Ilya Bolotowsky, American, 1907 - 1981
Title: City Rectangle
Date: 1948
Medium: Oil on canvas
86 x 66 cm
Credit Line: Purchased, 2020
Object Number: NGI.2020.35
Description‘City Rectangle’ is a bold articulation of Ilya Bolotowsky’s geomantic abstraction. Vertical and horizontal lines form networks of varied widths. These are infilled with coloured bands, squares, and rectangles. The juxtaposition of black lines and colourful planes convey the impression of junctions and intersections, stoppings and startings, apertures and contractions; harmony in discordance. Notes of orange and yellow intermittently glow next to weightier, browns and greys giving warmth and light to the composition.

Bolotowsky had a life-long love of classical music. Music, rhythm, and harmony informed his abstract style. The visual and thematic links between Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie-Woogie (1942-43; MoMA) and this work are apparent. In the 1940s, New York was a city vibrant with life, sounds, and colour. While Bolotowsky’s painting is purely abstract, its title hints that at its urban inspiration. The idea of the grid is synonymous with New York, the city that gave him and his family refuge in the 1920s and that came to be home. Here, the ‘City Rectangle’ is open at the edges. It seems to continue beyond the canvas edges, uncontained, and full of possibilities.

This painting was included in Ilya Bolotowsky’s first museum exhibition held at the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum in 1974.
ProvenanceThe Estate of the Artist; purchased, Washburn Gallery, New York, 2020
Exhibition HistoryIlya Bolotowsky, Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York , September 20-November 11, 1974

City of Ambition: Artists & New York, 1900 – 1996, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York , July 3 – October 27, 1996

Black Mountain: Una Aventura Americana, Museo Nacionel Centre de Arte Reina Sofia
October 8, 2002 – January 13, 2003

Ilya Bolotowsky: Paintings from 1935-80, Washburn Gallery, New York , November 1 – December 22, 2018