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Tamara and Norman Jay Bolotow of Barrington, Rhode Island were collectors of antiques and fine art for three decades beginning in the late 1970s. The Bolotows ascribe their collecting of fine art to their affiliation with the Rhode Island School of Design and RISD Museum. Norman served on the Museum Council in the late 1970s later becoming a Trustee of RISD through the 1980s while Tamara acted as a Museum Associate. Tamara and Norman were close friends with Museum Director Franklin Robinson and Curator of Prints and Drawings Deborah Johnson-Serinsky. The Bolotows credit both Robinson and Johnson as part of their earliest influences to collect fine art, often through RISD’s Collectors’ Club and annual Art for Your Collection sales.
The Bolotow collection is comprised of one hundred and sixty-five works spanning over two centuries of American and European art history. Their appreciation for art brought them around the globe from New York to Paris introducing them to some of the most distinguished artists and art dealers and galleries of the time. Tamara and Norman were dissimilar in their collecting druthers; Norman favored Expressionism, Social Realism, the boardwalk beauties of Reginald Marsh, the droll humor of Heinrich Kley, and the aesthetic of Leonard Dufresne’s modern genre scenes while Tamara appreciated the work of female art pioneers Alice Schille and Julia Margaret Cameron. Beyond their personal favorites, together they collected Austrian Art Nouveau and Art Deco sculpture, 19th Century American and European art, Modern Abstractionism and Expressionism, and American contemporary art.
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