Painter Jules Olitski Enjoys a Second Life – by Menachem Wecker
After Death, Ukrainian-Born Artist Wins Popularity
By Menachem Wecker
It’s hard to explain the feeling one experiences when standing in front of, and contemplating the dynamic movement in, Jules Olitski’s paintings. Picture a beautiful yet quickly fleeting vision of creamer diffusing throughout a cup of coffee. If one freezes the frame when the cloudiness is at its height — just before the dairy explosion mixes fully with the coffee and becomes dull and monochromatic — you might begin to imagine the forms in some of Olitski’s paintings from the 1980s and ’90s.
Olitski was born Jevel Demikovsky in present-day Ukraine in 1922, grew up in New York City and later lived and worked on Bear Island in New Hampshire. He died in February 2007.
A selection of small works, “Jules Olitski on an Intimate Scale,” is being exhibited at George Washington University’s Luther W. Brady Art Gallery, and “Revelation: Major Paintings by Jules Olitski” opened on September 15 at American University’s Katzen Arts Center, in Washington, D.C., after stints in Kansas City, Mo. (where it premiered); Houston; and Toledo. It will travel to the Naples Museum of Art in Florida in early 2013.