A fervent proponent of the power of abstract art and a major figure in American abstraction, Ilya Bolotowsky created work that reflected his unceasing interest in Modernist geometry. Born in Russia, Bolotowsky arrived in New York in 1923 and quickly grew interested in biomorphic surrealism. His exposure to Piet Mondrian in the 1930s prompted him to explore the potential of hard-edged abstraction; the colorful neo-plastic paintings he began creating at this time characterized his work for the rest of his life. Fiercely committed to the avant-garde, Bolotowsky joined The Ten, a band of nine artists including Adolph Gottlieb and Mark Rothko that advocated for new forms of abstraction. Although he never embraced Abstraction Expressionism like some of his peers, he remained an influential figure, teaching such notable artists as Kenneth Noland at Black Mountain College.