Ivan Gregorewitch Olinsky was born in Russia but came to prominence as an American artist. He stands out from other artist of the early 20th Century in that he was a realist, contrary to the abstract currents that dominated the era.
Olinsky came to America with his parents sometime during the 1890's. The settled in New York which would become Olinsky's adopted home; he would located a studio in Greenwich village around 1912, after studying and working in Italy and France.
He studied at the National Academy of Design early in his career as well as at the Art Students League. Both institutions would eventually engage him as a teacher.
Olinsky is considered to be one of the last artists to practice realism. At the beginning of the 20th Century, abrastraction was in vogue and many of the traditions that had guided the realists were in steep decline. Ivan Gregorewitch Olinsky, in the minds of many art historians, was the last of a dying breed who bridged the gap between the realist traditions of the past and the abstraction that would come to dominate the future.
He was the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Carnegie Prize in 1929.