Fine Art Focus: Lillian Orlowsky

by Grace Bonney

Though we just barely scratched the surface with our post on must-see feeds run by creatives over 40, the world of artists, makers and designers over 40 (and over 60 and over 80…) is thriving, vibrant and full of inspiration. Too often our more experienced counterparts are overlooked for what’s young and “new,” but I find that more often than not, I’m most moved and motivated by those with significant life and work experience. Artists like Lillian Orlowsky are wonderful examples.

Although she passed away in 2007, Lillian was an immensely talented painter and educator who supported her fellow artists until her final days. Along with her husband, fellow artist William Freed, she started a fund specifically to support older artists who could use financial aid. Lillian’s dedication to her own work, which was vivacious and full of color and movement, was matched only by her devotion to supporting her fellow community of artists. I’m so inspired not only by her work, but by the way she and her husband chose to reach out to those around them and lift them up as well. That sort of commitment to community is truly something to admire and emulate. Read on to learn more about Lillian and her work. xo, grace

Artist: Lillian was born in 1914 in New York City. She attended the Educational Alliance Art School, the National Academy of Design, the American Artist School and the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Art.
About: Lillian was a painter, curator, art critic and teacher who amassed an incredible body of socially-conscious work throughout her lifetime. She created artwork as part of the WPA (Works Projects Administration) project and was a devoted student of the artist Hans Hofmann and his school of fine art. She married and worked alongside her husband, fellow artist William Freed. Both Orlowsky and Freed were supporters of — and funded a grant specifically for — older artists in need of financial aid.
Work: Lillian’s work is bold, colorful, and full of movement and graphic interpretations of the natural world. Her work has been shown in galleries and museums across the globe.
More: You can read more about Lillian and her work here, here and here.

All artwork (c) Lillian Orlowsky. Portrait by Norma Holt via the Provincetown Art Register. All other images via Acme Fine Art.


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  • Thanks for sharing Lillian’s work on DS! This is my first time seeing her work and find myself getting lost in her paintings. I know it’s coming after the “feeds run by creatives over 40” but I hope age will become less important when you feature an older artist/blogger/designer etc. Thank you DS and keep up the great work – it is a part of my daily routine for inspiration and enjoyment.

  • I rarely leave a comment, but had to with this post. I have been so inspired by her work, in fact, the most inspired by any artist you have ever featured. Thank you.