Ilya Bolotowsky was a major figure in the field of mid-Century geometric abstraction.
Bolotowsky attended the National Academy of Design, but rebelled against the formalism taught there. He left the Academy, along with Mark Rothko and others, to do more forward-thinking work.
Bolotowsky was one of the earliest artists and a formative figure in the geometric abstractions field. He was known for exploring angles within a square or round confines. He began doing biomorphic surrealism after arriving in New York from Russia in 1923 (think, for example, of the work of Jean Arp), but after meeting Piet Mondrian in the 1930s he dived into hard-edged abstractionism.
When Bolotowsky was about 30 years old, he founded an artist’s cooperative to develop public understanding of abstract art. He is recognized in Peter Hastings Falk’s definitive compendium Who Was Who in American Art (Sound View Press, 1985).
Bolotowsky’s students included prominent Washington Color School painter Kenneth Noland.