JULES OLITSKI "LECHAIM!" PASTEL, 1965
Jules Olitski (1922-1977) is one of the most collected and accomplished artists associated with the color-field movement, if not 20th-century American abstraction.
Created in the mid-1960s, this joyful drawing emerges from a pivotal point in Olitski's career when he began his transition away from naive color field creations (featuring playful ovoids) to discover his radical spray painting technique.
Olitski's first chapter of artistic creation, and this drawing is included, is the most sought after and hardest to find. Over the last 60+ years, there have been less than a dozen such drawings to come on the secondary market. (Click here to see another example from this body of work).
This drawing is emblematic of the stain paintings of the era; large lopsided round shapes attempt to dominate the picture plane, intimidating other smaller forms and colors, whether mini circles or soft borders.
Atypical is the emphatic "Lechaim!" featured at the bottom of the page, bringing the bright and voluminous colors into a cheerful exclamation. (Lechaim is a Hebrew word that translates as "to life" and is used both in prayer and as an equivalent to "cheers")
Olitski's inclusion of text is a rare occurrence, making this piece an especially remarkable work from this era.
Originally sold in Toronto at Theo Waddington Galleries, this work has fortuitously found its way back to the city decades later. This mere coincidence serves as an emblem of Oltiski's important connection to Toronto, having exhibited continuously in the city for over twenty years at the David Mirvish Gallery and Gallery One throughout his career.
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Pastel and mixed media on colored paper
Signed by the artist.
8.75"H 11.75"W (work)
16"H x 19"W (framed)
Very good condition.
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