Jules Olitski: An Inside View

August 9, 2008 - November 16, 2008

A Survey of Prints 1954-2006

Jules Olitski (1922-2007), one of America‘s pre-eminent artists, is celebrated for his lyrical Color Field paintings, large-format abstractions with shimmering fields of color. Less well-known are his smaller, more intimate prints in the media of woodcut, intaglio, silkscreen, lithograph, and monotype.

In the mid 1950s, Olitski expanded his painting practice to include printmaking. In this earliest work, he created series of related compositions by repeatedly adjusting small intaglio plates. Virtually all unique impressions, these rarely exhibited prints include a suite of self-portraits. In old age, Olitski would return to the subject of his own image in a hauntingly beautiful monotype, on display for the first time with the Plexiglas plate from which it was printed.

The visual conversation between a composition’s center and periphery-a signature concern of the artist’s, is present at the onset. An Inside View tracks this continually reformulated dialogue across six decades. In his earliest prints 1960s and early 70s, expanses of nuanced color out-weigh drawn elements in his lithographs and silkscreens, reflecting the tonal discoveries of his Color Field paintings.

Expressive gestures reassert themselves in the loopy shapes of his silkscreens of the 1980s. In the 1990s, when he was in his early seventies, Jules Olitski began working with monotypes. He would passionately embrace this medium in his final years, completing his last print two weeks before his death. An Inside View includes several of these joyous celebrations of life that also serve as meditations on mortality. Curated by Judith Stein.

Jules Olitski Signing Print
Signing monotype Waves and Clouds
in Hartford Art School print studio,
Hartford, Connecticut, September 1998
Photo by Kristina Olitski

Related Events:

The Preeminence of Jules — Panel Discussion led by Andrew Hudson
September 26, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Artist Talk by Kim Hartman Colligan
October 23, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

Background Information and Articles:

Visit Jules Olitski Web Site

The New York Times – Weightless Color, Floating Free

The Guardian – Obituary

The Brooklyn Rail- Jules Olitski The Seventies, Painting And Sculpture

The New York Observer- Painter Jules Olitski Transported His Viewers to Virtual Outerspace

Barley Soup and Art: High and Low -Jules Olitski

Wikipedia Biography