Artwork Information

  • Title:

    Secret Fire 8

  • Artist:

    Olitski, Jules

  • Artist Bio:

    American, 1922–2007

  • Date:


  • Medium:

    Acrylic on canvas

  • Dimensions:

    51 x 79 inches

  • Credit Line:

    Wichita Art Museum, Gift of Harry Litwin

  • Object Number:


  • Display:

    Not Currently on Display

About the Artwork

Jules Olitski

American, 1922–2007

Secret Fire 8, 1977

Acrylic on canvas

Wichita Art Museum, Gift of Harry Litwin


Jules Olitski created minimal abstract works of art throughout his career working primarily as a painter and sculptor. He was born in the Ukraine only months after his father was executed on political charges. By the age of one he had immigrated to the United States with his mother and grandmother. He was exposed to abstract art living in New York City in his late teens and later studied in Paris after World War II. This work influenced his art heavily at the start of his career in the 1950s.

He found various ways of staining canvases with color from sponges and rollers to spray guns creating flat surfaces of vivid color in the 1960s and these techniques helped him rise to fame as a Color Field painter. He aimed to create works that looked like “Nothing but some colors sprayed into the air and staying there.” 

In the 1970s Olitski’s methods shifted and he began to create works with more of a thick paint application to create texture in the painting. During this time, his work became more muted and monochromatic in color. Secret Fire 8 is an example of these shifts in his style.

Olitski had a prolific and varied career. He played an important if at the time controversial role in the progression of American abstraction before the rise of Pop art.  His later work is often seen as a forerunner to minimalism.