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Oral history interview with Ilya Bolotowsky

Bolotowsky, Ilya, 1907-1981  Search this
Cummings, Paul  Search this
Diller, Burgoyne, 1906-1965  Search this
American Abstract Artists  Search this
American Artists' Congress  Search this
Art Students League (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Black Mountain College (Black Mountain, N.C.)  Search this
Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors  Search this
G.R.D. Studio (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
National Academy of Design (U.S.)  Search this
Public Works of Art Project  Search this
United States. Works Progress Administration  Search this
Yaddo (Artist's colony)  Search this
Albers, Josef  Search this
Browne, Byron, 1907-1961  Search this
Dlugoszewski, Lucia, 1931-2000  Search this
Drewes, Werner, 1899-1985  Search this
Gorky, Arshile, 1904-1948  Search this
Greenberg, Clement, 1909-1994  Search this
Greene, Balcomb, 1904-1990  Search this
Greene, Gertrude, 1904-1956  Search this
Hawthorne, Charles Webster, 1872-1930  Search this
Holtzman, Harry  Search this
Johnson, William H., 1901-1970  Search this
Léger, Fernand, 1881-1955  Search this
Mondrian, Piet, 1872-1944  Search this
Neilson, Raymond P. R. (Raymond Perry Rodgers), 1881-1964  Search this
Neumann, J. B. (Jsrael Ber)  Search this
Olinsky, Ivan G. (Ivan Gregorewitch), 1878-1962  Search this
Ozenfant, Amédée, 1886-1966  Search this
Spivak, Max, 1906-1981  Search this
Vogel, Joseph, b. 1911  Search this
197 Pages (Transcript)
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound recordings
1968 March 24-April 7
Scope and Contents:
Interview of Ilya Bolotowsky conducted 1968 March 24-April 7, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art.
Bolotowsky, a lively raconteur, recalls a host of episodes from his personal and professional life. He speaks of his childhood in Russia and Azerbaijan; the effects of war and communism; the family's flight as refugees into Georgia and then to present-day Istanbul; and his early education with a private tutor and at a Jesuit school in Istanbul. Bolotowsky recalls his family's emigration to the United States by ship in 1923; his first impressions of New York City; and early visits to the city's museums. He relates numerous anecdotes about faculty and fellow students at the National Academy of Design, including Ivan Olinsky, Raymond Neilson, Charles Hawthorne, Amedee Ozenfant, and William Henry Johnson.
He speaks of various early exhibitions of his work, including those with the Art Students League, G.R.D. Studio, and the J.B. Neumann Gallery. He also describes a stay at Yaddo in 1934.
Bolotowsky recounts his participation in the Public Works of Art Project as a teacher of art to delinquent children; later work on the mural project of the Works Progress Administration; the picketing of WPA offices, providing anecdotes about Max Spivak and Joseph Vogel; military service during World War II, first working on a Russian dictionary of technical terms and then as a liason officer with the Soviet Air Force in Nome, Alaska.
Upon his return from the military, Bolotowsky immediately resumed his painting career, and describes his involvement with artists' organizations such as the American Abstract Artists, the American Artists' Congress, the Concretionists, the Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors, and the Ten; he mentions in these contexts such personalities as Byron Browne, Burgoyne Diller, Werner Drewes, Arshile Gorky, Clement Greenberg, Balcomb and Gertrude Greene, Harry Holtzman, Fernand Leger, Piet Mondrian, and Meyer Schapiro.
Bolotowsky gives an extensive description of his experiences filling in for Joseph Albers for a year at Black Mountain College, and goes on to discuss his subsequent teaching positions at the University of Wyoming (including a discussion of the impact of the Wyoming landscape on his painting), Brooklyn College, Southampton College, and SUNY New Paltz. He devotes great attention to the development of his painting, his understanding of neo-plasticism and abstraction, and his efforts in filmmaking and playwriting.
Biographical / Historical:
Ilya Bolotowsky (1907-1981) was a Russian-American abstract painter in New York, New York.
Originally recorded on 2 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 12 digital wav files. Duration is 6 hr., 37 min.
These interviews are part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others. Funding for the interview was provided by the New York State Council on the Arts.
ACCESS RESTRICTED; written permission required.
Filmmakers  Search this
Playwrights  Search this
Art and state  Search this
Concretionists (Group of artists)  Search this
Emigration and immigration  Search this
Experimental films  Search this
Federal aid to the arts -- United States  Search this
Painting, Abstract -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Playwriting  Search this
Philadelphia Ten (Group of artists)  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
World War, 1939-1945  Search this
Sound recordings
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art

Interviews of artists and architects associated with the National Academy of Design

Lockman, DeWitt McClellan, 1870-1957  Search this
National Academy of Design (U.S.)  Search this
Harding, Chester, 1792-1866  Search this
Jewett, William S. (Smith), 1812-1873  Search this
Loeb, Louis, 1866-1909  Search this
Sartain, William, 1843-1924  Search this
Abbey, Mary Gertrude, d. 1931  Search this
Adams, Wayman, 1883-1959  Search this
Aitken, Robert, 1878-1949  Search this
Albert, Ernest, 1857-1946  Search this
Beal, Reynolds, 1866-1951  Search this
Bell, Edward August, 1862-1953  Search this
Blashfield, Edwin Howland, 1848-1936  Search this
Brown, Roy H., 1879-1956  Search this
Browne, George Elmer, 1871-1946  Search this
Brunner, Arnold W. (Arnold William), 1857-1925  Search this
Calder, Alexander Stirling, 1870-1945  Search this
Chapman, Carlton T. (Carlton Theodore), 1860-1925  Search this
Clinedinst, B. West (Benjamin West), 1860-1931  Search this
Cole, Alphaeus Philemon, 1876-1988  Search this
Cole, Timothy, 1852-1931  Search this
Couse, E. Irving (Eanger Irving), 1866-1936  Search this
Crane, Bruce, 1857-1937  Search this
Curran, Charles C. (Charles Courtney), 1861-1942  Search this
De Haven, Franklin, 1856-1934  Search this
Derrick, William Rowell, 1857-1941  Search this
Dessar, Louis Paul, 1867-1952  Search this
Dewing, Thomas Wilmer, 1851-1938  Search this
Dielman, Frederick, 1847-1935  Search this
Dufner, Edward, 1872-1957  Search this
Dunsmore, John Ward, 1856-1945  Search this
Flagg, Jared B. (Jared Bradley), 1820-1899  Search this
Flannagan, John Bernard, 1895?-1942  Search this
Franzen, August, 1863-1938  Search this
French, Daniel Chester, 1850-1931  Search this
Fry, Sherry Edmundson, 1879-  Search this
Gay, Edward, 1837-1928  Search this
Gilbert, Cass, 1859-1934  Search this
Granville-Smith, Walter, 1870-1938  Search this
Hassam, Childe, 1859-1935  Search this
Hawthorne, Charles Webster, 1872-1930  Search this
Howe, William Henry, 1846-1929  Search this
Hubbell, Henry Salem, 1870-1938  Search this
Hyde, William H. (William Henry), 1858-1943  Search this
Jones, Francis Coates, 1857-1932  Search this
Kieth, Dora Wheeler  Search this
Kline, William Fair, 1870-1931  Search this
Lie, Jonas, 1880-1940  Search this
Low, Will Hicok, 1853-1932  Search this
MacMonnies, Frederick William, 1863-1937  Search this
MacNeil, Hermon Atkins, 1866-1947  Search this
McCartan, Edward, 1879-1947  Search this
Melchers, Gari, 1860-1932  Search this
Mora, F. Luis (Francis Luis), 1874-1940  Search this
Mowbray, H. Siddons (Harry Siddons), 1858-1928  Search this
Neilson, Raymond P. R. (Raymond Perry Rodgers), 1881-1964  Search this
Newell, G. Glenn (George Glenn), 1870-1947  Search this
Nisbet, Robert H., 1879-1961  Search this
Olinsky, Ivan G. (Ivan Gregorewitch), 1878-1962  Search this
Paddock, Willard Dryden, 1873-1956  Search this
Palmer, Walter Launt, 1854-1932  Search this
Parton, Arthur, 1842-1914  Search this
Paxton, William McGregor, 1869-1941  Search this
Peixotto, Ernest, b. 1869  Search this
Pennell, Joseph, 1857-1926  Search this
Potthast, Edward, 1857-1927  Search this
Prellwitz, Henry, 1865-1940  Search this
Ritschel, William, 1864-1949  Search this
Rittenberg, Henry R., b. 1879  Search this
Roth, Frederick George Richard, 1872-1944  Search this
Rungius, Carl, 1869-1959  Search this
Sartain, Emily, 1841-1927  Search this
Sartain, John, 1808-1897  Search this
Snell, Henry B. (Henry Bayley), 1858-1943  Search this
Spencer, Robert, 1879-1931  Search this
Swartwout, R. E. (Robert Egerton)  Search this
Volk, Douglas , 1856-1935  Search this
Vonnoh, Bessie Potter, 1872-1955  Search this
Vonnoh, Robert William, 1858-1933  Search this
Walker, Horatio, 1858-1938  Search this
Watrous, Harry W. (Harry Willson), 1857-1940  Search this
Weinman, Adolph A. (Adolph Alexander), 1870-1952  Search this
Weldon, Charles D., 1855-1935  Search this
Whittemore, William J., 1860-1955  Search this
Wiles, Irving Ramsay, 1861-1948  Search this
Williams, Frederick Ballard, 1871-1956  Search this
Yates, Cullen, 1866-1945  Search this
3 Microfilm reels
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Microfilm reels
Scope and Contents:
Transcripts and handwritten drafts of interviews of 86 artists and architects associated with the National Academy of Design, conducted by Lockman. Also included are a few biographical sketches.
Interviewees include: Mrs. Edwin Austin Abbey, Wayman Adams, Robert I. Aiken, Ernest Albert, Alonzo R. Beal, Edward A. Bell, Edwin H. Blashfield, Roy H. Brown, George E. Browne, Arnold Brunner, Alexander S. Calder, Carleton T. Chapman, Benjamin West Clinedinst, Alphaeus Cole, Timothy Cole, Irving E. Couse, Robert B. Crane, Charles C. Curran, B. Franklin De Haven, William R. Derrick, Louis P. Dessar, Thomas W. Dewing, Frederick I. Dielman, Edward Dufner, John W. Dunsmore, Jared B. Flagg, John G. Flanagan, August R. Franzen, Daniel C. French, Sherry E. Fry, Edward Gay, Cass Gilbert, Walter Granville-Smith, Chester Harding, Childe Hassam, Charles W. Hawthorne, William H. Howe, Henry S. Hubbell, William H. Hyde, William S. Jewett, Francis C. Jones, Dora Wheeler Kieth, William Fair Kline, Jonas Lie, Louis Loeb, Will H. Low, Edward McCartan, Frederick MacMonnies, Herman A. MacNeil, Gari Melchers, Francis Luis Mora, H. Siddons Mowbray, Raymond P. R. Neilson, George G. Newell,Robert H. Nisbet,
Ivan G. Olinsky, Willard Dryden Paddock, Walter L. Palmer, Arthur Parton, William McGregor Paxton, Ernest C. Peixotto, Joseph Pennell, Edward H. Potthast, Henry Prellwitz, Wilhelm F. Ritschel, Henry Rittenberg, Frederick Roth, Carl Rungius, Emily Sartain, John Sartain, William Sartain, Henry B. Snell, Robert Spencer, Egerton Swartwout, Douglas Volk, Bessie & Robert Vonnoh, Horatio Walker, Harry Watrous, Adolph Weinman, Charles D. Weldon, William Whittemore, Irving Wiles, Frederick B. Williams, and Cullen Yates.
Biographical / Historical:
DeWitt Lockman was a portrait painter, New York, N.Y. He studied in Europe, 1891-1892 and 1901-1902; a pupil of James H. Beard, Nelson N. Bickford and William Sartain; and was president of the National Academy of Design and records secretary of the New York Historical Society.
Lent 1973 by the New York Historical Society.
The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.
Artists -- United States -- Interviews  Search this
Architects -- United States -- Interviews  Search this
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art

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