Bolotowsky Mural Detail
Then known as the Welfare Hospital for Chronic Disease, this hospital on New York’s Roosevelt Island opened in 1939. The hospital soon received three rare 7 x 50 foot WPA murals by Ilya Bolotowsky (1907-1981), Joseph Rugolo (1911-1983) and Albert Swinden (1901-1961).
“The murals must have caused a sensation in the early 1940s, when they were installed in the patients’ circular day rooms by the federal Work Projects Administration. Not your standard W.P.A. social-realist allegories, these were works of almost pure, jazzlike abstraction, bold fields of color that barely suggested any literal imagery.” (nytimes.com)
At some point in the following years, all three murals were painted over. The Bolotowsky mural was uncovered in 2001. When the building was slated for demolition in 2013, all three murals were painstakingly recovered and removed, and are currently being restored by EverGreene. The Bolotowsky mural is supposed to be installed in the new Cornell Tech campus being built on Roosevelt Island. The future of the other murals is still unclear.
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