Jules Olitski was born in Russia. He is widely regarded as one of America’s last classic modern painters, most known for his brilliant color harmonies and chromatic shifts that became one of the hallmarks of Color Field painting. He moved to the United States as an infant with his mother and settled in Brooklyn, New York. Olitski studied at National Academy School of Fine Arts, Beaux-Arts Institute of Design, and earned an MA from New York University, all in New York City.
Olitski's work has been exhibited at Galerie Huit in Paris and at French & Company in New York City, among other institutions. He was one of four artists (with Helen Frankenthaler, Roy Lichtenstein, and Ellsworth Kelly) selected by Henry Geldzahler to represent the United States in the 33rd Venice Biennale. He was the first living American artist to be given a solo exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Olitski was the recipient of awards including the Milton and Sally Avery Distinguished Professorship at Bard College and honorary doctorates from Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford, CT; Keene State College, NH; University of New Hampshire, Durham; and Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester.
Olitski visited Brandywine Workshop and Archives, Philadelphia, twice during the1980s to produce a series of limited-edition prints. Many of these prints were included in the traveling exhibition Jules Olitski: An Inside View, A Survey of Prints 1954–2007 at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, VT. He lived and practiced his art in New Hampshire.