JULES OLITSKI (1922-2007)
JULES OLITSKI (1922-2007)
JULES OLITSKI (1922-2007)
JULES OLITSKI (1922-2007)
3 More
JULES OLITSKI (1922-2007)

Demikovsky Green

JULES OLITSKI (1922-2007)
Demikovsky Green
signed and dated '1964 Jules Olitski' (on the reverse)
Magna on canvas
80 x 65 1⁄8 in. (203.2 x 165.4 cm.)
Painted in 1964.
Poindexter Gallery, New York
Edward Cauduro, Portland, 1964
Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert H. Kinney, Washington, D.C.
Private collection
Anon. sale; Christie's, New York, 5 October 1990, lot 17
Private collection
Ameringer Yohe Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner
M. Fried, "New York Letter," Art International, May 1964, pp. 40-42 (illustrated).
A. Pellegrini, Nuevas Tendencias en la Pintura, Buenos Aires, 1966, p. 144 (illustrated).
A. Pellegrini, New Tendencies in Art, New York, 1967, p. 146 (illustrated).
K. Wilkin, "Art: Color Painting of the 1960s, Dynamic Abstractions by Five American Masters," Architectural Digest, August 1994, p. 81 (illustrated).
G. Glueck, "Art Review: During a 60's Interlude, Color Was the Content," The New York Times, 30 January 1998, p. B37 (illustrated).
New York, Poindexter Gallery, Jules Olitski, March 1964.
Portland Art Museum, The Primacy of ColorContemporary Paintings from the Collection of Edward Cauduro, December 1965-January 1966.
New York, André Emmerich Gallery, Green Mountain Boys, Caro, Feeley, Noland and Olitski at Bennington in the 1960's, January-February 1998.

Brought to you by

Julian Ehrlich
Julian Ehrlich Associate Vice President, Specialist, Head of Post-War to Present Sale

Lot Essay

In the 1960s, Jules Olitski emerged as a prominent figure among the upcoming generation of abstract painters who succeeded the Abstract Expressionists. Transitioning from gestural painting to Color Field painting, he employed a technique where color was liberated from form, enabling the creation of a radiant sense of space. Olitski enthusiastically embraced the use of fast-drying acrylics, a choice that granted him the flexibility to delicately thin the paint to a watery transparency and effortlessly apply it as stains directly onto the canvas. This skillful technique is eloquently showcased in one of Olitski's notable works, Demikovsky Green.

Olitski’s large-scale abstract painting is a triumph of color, gesture, and minimalist composition that exemplifies his innovative techniques in painting. The monumental canvas envelops viewers within an immersive sea of vibrant, crimson brushstrokes. These brushstrokes possess a smooth, velvety texture, creating captivating layers of crimson hues with varying saturations peeking through. Similar to Mark Rothko's Four Darks in Red (1958), the canvas unveils an intricate interplay of cascading layers of deep reds, gradually building upon one another, forming a mesmerizing symphony of color. Certain areas exhibit a rich saturation that conceals any trace of the underlying white canvas, while in other sections, a delicate touch of red allows the subtle white undertones to softly emerge, enhancing the captivating visual tapestry.

Olitski contrasts these layers of translucent and opaque crimson strokes with a rich verdant hue that seems to glow from within. The green circles mirror the layered colors found in the crimson expanse. These vibrant circles harbor translucent paint layers, creating a luminous quality that gives the impression of a radiant glow emanating from within. The composition balances Olitski's free-flowing brushwork with zones of empty canvas and pockets of space that allow the eye to move freely around the painting. The gestural, verdant forms float in a pale cream stream with clusters of crimson marks dispersing outward toward the edges of the expansive canvas. Olitski thus achieves a sense of boundless space, suspending pure color harmonies within a void.

This innovation in color contrasts the gestural forms of artistic production of other Abstract Expressionists like Jackson Pollock. In Pollock's Number III Tiger (1949), the artist's gestural forms are emblematic of his energetic and uninhibited creative process. The force and motion with which he guides the paint create dynamic lines and trails of color that seem to emanate vitality. On the other hand, Olitski's Demikovsky Green takes a contrasting approach to gesture. The lines and forms in his painting are softer and more controlled. The gentle lines seem to float effortlessly, evoking a sense of tranquility and contemplation. The viewer is drawn into a more serene and introspective atmosphere, where the artist's subtle gestures invite closer observation.

As an exemplary Post-War American abstraction, Demikovsky Green builds on innovations of Abstract Expressionism while moving painting into uncharted territory. Olitski liberates color from form and brushstroke from texture, creating a radically new viewing experience. The work's scale and enveloping color field make it at once overwhelming and meditative. In this exemplary work, Olitski succeeded in producing an impactful yet serene abstraction through the simplicity of color stained into raw canvas. The result is a modern masterpiece that reinvents and expands the essence of painting.

More from Post-War to Present

View All
View All