He was born in Warsaw, Poland on August 29, 1900. In 1907, his family moved to St. Petersburg, Russia, then, when he was fourteen, to Philadelphia. There he studied under Hugh Breckenridge and Daniel Garber at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, from which he graduated in 1923. He then went to Paris, where he was influenced by Impressionism and Post-Impressionism.
In 1925, he returned to Philadelphia, where he worked as a decorative painter.
Solowey moved to New York in 1928, where he was commissioned by the New York Times and the Herald Tribune to capture the likenesses of Broadway and Hollywood celebrities. Of these, he sketched Ethel Barrymore, Fanny Brice, Claudette Colbert, Katharine Cornell, Marlene Dietrich, Helen Hayes, Katharine Hepburn, Walter Huston, George S. Kaufman, Mary Nash, Lily Pons, and Basil Rathbone.
In 1930, after a brief courtship, he married Rae Landis, who became his primary model.
In 1936, the couple moved to a secluded farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. There, Solowey would spend the rest of his days, restoring the ancient farmhouse and painting.
His studio in Bedminster Township, Pennsylvania is maintained as a museum.