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Life Arts    H4'ed 3/6/11

More Jules Olitsky: 5 Geometric and 1 Abstract Expressionist Paintings, Plus 1 Representational Painting for Contrast.

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Message GLloyd Rowsey
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Regarding this article's differentiation between Olitsky's 'Geometric Expressionist' and 'Abstract Expressionist' paintings, see my OEN article explaining my usage of the terms.

1977 Photo of the Artist,
1977 Photo of the Artist,
(Image by Helen Miljakovitch)
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In the above picture, Jules Olitsky looks exactly like my mental picture of how the 'modern' male artist should look, and he was a very, very remarkable painter.   Of course even in art, looks aren't everything; Olitsky was also a Ukrainian Jewish immigrant working-class artist, bless his dear departed soul.


I published an OEN article dated December 19, 2009, featuring five of Olitsky's 'messy' geometrical expressionist works here.


Because they were so simple and profound, I quote here Olitsky's words about how he created his art: 

As we all know, inspiration, like love, can't be induced. If we are fortunate, it will happen, falling upon us like a gift from the gods. If we are very fortunate, it will happen more than once. The only thing I could hope for was that I would be at work when the miracle came about; so I worked all the time. And then some seven or eight years ago I came upon this sentence by Ralph Waldo Emerson: 'Do the thing and you will have the power.' I didn't know, and still don't, its exact meaning, but the words had for me a power in themselves, an incantatory power. It was as if, simply by saying the words and in that instant taking hold of the work, I had also taken hold of the power. Now here was a power I could induce. And what's more, the experience was similar to that which I had called inspiration. I believe I had tapped into some universal power. My experience is far from unique. Creative workers in many occupations and professions have experienced a communion with a divine source. It is maybe what Matisse had in mind when he asked himself if he believed in God and answered, yes, when at work.  

-  Excerpt from the essay The Courage of Conviction, 1986, Ballantine Books, New York, edited by Phillip L. Berman




The following Olitsky paintings are all acrylic on canvas or magna acrylic on canvas, and their images are all presented courtesy of the Estate of Jules Olitsky and Artnet's Artist Works Catalogs.




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I have a law degree (Stanford, 66') but have never practiced. Instead, from 1967 through 1977, I tried to contribute to the revolution in America. As unsuccessful as everyone else over that decade, in 1978 I went to work for the U.S. Forest (more...)
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