About This Artwork

Ilya Bolotowsky
American, born Russia, 1907–1981

Grey Diamond, 1955

Oil on canvas, mounted on panel
129.5 x 129.5 cm (51 x 51 in.)
W. at center: 182.9 cm (72 in.)

Walter Aitken and Hyacinth Drechney funds, 2006.82

© Estate of Ilya Bolotowsky/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

A devotee of Neo-Plasticism—the geometric, nonobjective style espoused by Piet Mondrian—Ilya Bolotowsky began to include the diamond shape in his art in 1947. Bolotowsky believed that this unusual means of presentation created a more spacious composition compared to a square canvas of the same size. Grey Diamond contains many principles of Neo-Plasticism: a lack of depth, the elimination of all representational forms, and carefully balanced color. In embracing the movement, Bolotowsky explained, “Nowadays, when paintings torture the retina, when music gradually destroys the eardrum, there must, all the more, be a need for an art that searches for new ways to achieve harmony and equilibrium.”

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Publication History

Annual Report (Art Institute of Chicago, 2005-2006), p. 22 (ill. p. 25).

Denise Mahoney, "Grey Diamond," Notable Acquisitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies, 34, 1 (2008), pp. 18-19.

Judith A. Barter et al., "American Modernism at the Art Institute of Chicago, From World War I to 1955," (Art Institute of Chicago/Yale University Press, 2009), cat. 126.

Ownership History

Estate of the artist; Marilyn Pearl Gallery, New York; Private collection, Michigan, by 2006; with Washburn Gallery, New York, 2006; sold to The Art Institute of Chicago, 2006.

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