I love this work. What can you tell me? Can you tell me more about the context of how this work fits into the context of his career?
"Opalescent Vertical" by Ilya Bolotowsky is a nearly monochromatic work of straight lines and pure forms inspired by the art of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian.
The artist belonged to the American Abstract Artists Group, which was founded in 1936 in New York City, at a time when abstract art was met with strong critical resistance.
Also, the American Abstract Artists Group is one of the few artists’ organizations to survived the Great Depression and continue into the 21st century. We also have a mural by Bolotowsky near the Cafe -- it was commissioned by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) to help the country's artists overcome the financial struggles of the 1930s. That work is slightly less geometrical and uses more color.
Why was this Boltowsky piece framed in silver and put in a glass box?
That's a beautiful painting. You'll notice that everything in those galleries is glazed (behind glass) partly for protection, since so many parties and concerts and other crowded events are held in that space.
I'm not sure why this particular work has a box rather than a sheet of glass. It may be that the frame is original and we had to work around that.
Generally when the museum receives new work does it arrive framed or does the frame get chosen afterwards?
It often depends on the age of the painting and the source (gallery, private collection, etc.)
Older works (like these) often arrive framed. However, the frames are very often *not* the original frames, because the originals may have been damaged, switched out for a new design, etc. over the many years of the painting's "life."
In that case, the museum would try to find a frame from the same period and put it on or else have experts make a frame that looks true to the time period.