Jules Olitski



Jules Olitski (1922-2007) is one of Caviar20's favorite abstract artists of the 20th century.  Over the course of his career, his aesthetic evolved in startling and fascinating ways.  

Through much of the 1970s Olitski explored anti-color and created paintings in distinctively muted almost anemic tones; pale grey, bleached beige, chalky peach, ghost white. 

In the 1980s Olitski embarked on a new chapter of art-making; more exuberant and textured. Similar to previous eras, by embracing unconventional tools and new products Olitski produced a distinct and evolving aesthetic.

Olitski experimented with new types of acrylic paints, materials that allowed him to realize a much thicker impasto. In this work, the paint is so thick and above the canvas' surface, that the overall piece resembles a topographical map. 

One of the other aesthetic characteristics of this era was the use of acrylics that had a distinct shimmer or the appearance of glitter suspended in the paint.   Here this work at first glance seems a saturated but pasty grey/blue...but on closer inspection, the surface is highlighted with a wide variety of colors gently applied to the moodier surface including; tangerine, merlot, sky blue, and grape. 

Interestingly, "Tortuga" is the name of a small island off the coast of Haiti. It was once an important spot for pirates (and was even immortalized in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" film franchise) Today it is known as a prime spot for diving and snorkeling. 

Olitski did not typically work in small formats. This evocative painting from the mid-80s is a gem from his oeuvre.  

Questions about this piece? Contact us or call +1.416.704.1720


USA, 1985

Acrylic on linen

Signed, titled, dated, and by the artist verso.

8"H 20"W (canvas)

Very good condition 

Note: additional images coming soon

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