Donald Sultan, American (1951 - )

  Born in 1951 in Asheville, North Carolina, Donald Sultan rose to prominence in the 1980's as a painter and draftsman of subjects such as lemons and flowers. He is best known for his rich use of black, actually tar in many of his paintings, and his work is voluminous and varied, manifesting itself in the media of paint, printing, and sculpting.

Sultan received his BFA from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and his MFA from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. He moved to New York in 1975, where he lives and works.

His still-lifes have been described as studies in contrast. Powerfully sensual, fleshy objects are rendered through a labor-intensive and unique method. Instead of canvas, Sultan works on masonite covered with 12-inch vinyl floor tiles. The tiles dictate the format: one-foot squares, eight-foot squares, or four-foot squares. Sultan cuts the shapes he desires into the vinyl, fills in the cutout space with plaster and/or tar, and then paints over it. These multiple layers create the texture and subsequent richness.

Although his paintings fit into the criteria of a still life, Sultan describes these works as first and foremost abstract. The largeness of Sultan's compositions, huge pieces of fruit, flowers, dominoes and other objects, may be set against a stark, unsettling tar-black background and tend to dominate the viewer.

He is best known for his lemons and fruit, but has stated that his subjects develop from previous work. The oval of his lemons has led him to a series of oval-blossomed tulips, and dots from dice that have become oranges. Sultan's work incorporates basic geometric and organic forms, and his images are weighty, with equal emphasis on both negative and positive areas. Sultan describes his work as "heavy structure, holding fragile meaning" with the ability to "turn you off and turn you on at the same time."

Sultan has enjoyed a distinguished career as painter, printmaker, and sculptor, including works of garden pieces. His work is always concerned, on some level at least, with recognizable imagery. "Basically I think I am a Minimalist. But I keep trying to add as much stuff as I can and still keep the sense."

Sultans first one man show was in 1977, and since then he has been given numerous exhibitions dedicated to his work, as well as having been included in a number of group shows. His works have been collected and shown by leading galleries and museums around the world, and his international one- artist exhibitions include shows in Barcelona, Budapest, Dusseldorf, London, Nagoya, Paris, Rome, Tokyo and Zurich. He has been a Visiting Artist at the Santa Fe Art Institute, and collaborated with the playwright David Mamet on the book, "Bar Mitzvah".

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BFA, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, NC
MFA, School of the Art Institute of Chicago Chicago, IL
Creative Artists Public Service Grant New York, NY
State National Endowment for the Arts
   
Exhibitions
1998 Donald Sultan and the Still Life Tradition, Corcoran Gallery Washington, DC
1997 Donald Sultan: New Paintings, Knoedler & Company New York, NY
1996 Donald Sultan: Neue Arbeiten, Galerie Lawrence Rubin (catalogue) Zurich, Switzerland
1996 Thinking Print - Books to Billboards 1980-95, Museum of Modern Art New York, NY
1995 Recent Acquisitions on Paper, National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Inst. Washington, DC
1995 Donald Sultan: New Paintings, Knoedler & Company New York, NY
1994 Metamorphosis: Surrealism to Organic Abstraction, Marlborough Graphics New York, NY
1994 Donald Sultan: Wall Flowers, Paul Kasmin Gallery New York, NY
1993 Wege der Moderne: Di Sammlung Beyeler, National Galerie Berlin, Germany
1993 Donald Sultan, Galerie Kaj Forsblom Zurich, Switzerland
1993 Donald Sultan: Morning Glories, Hill Gallery Birmingham, MI
1993 Donald Sultan: Recent Paintings, Knoedler & Company New York, NY
1992 Donald Sultan: Drawing, The Hill Gallery Birmingham, MI
1992 Donald Sultan: Paintings, Knoedler & Company New York, NY
1992
Donald Sultan: Pintures, Galerie Trauma Barcelona, Spain
1992 Donald Sultan, Hans Strelow Gallery Dusseldorf, Germany
1992 Donald Sultan: Recent Paintings and Works on Paper, Meredith Long & Company Houston, TX
1992 Donald Sultan: Paintings 1978-1992, Guild Hall Museum East Hampton, NY
1992 Donald Sultan: Drawings + Watercolors 1987-1992, Knoedler & Company New York, NY
1992 Donald Sultan: A Print Retrospective, The American Federation of the Arts (traveled) New York, NY
1991 Donald Sultan: Paintings, Drawings and Prints, John Berggruen Gallery San Francisco, CA
1991 Donald Sultan: Sculpture, Knoedler & Company New York, NY
1991 Donald Sultan, Recent Print Projects: Dominoes, Fruits and Flowers, Playing Cards, Mary Ryan Gallery New York, NY
1990 Donald Sultan: Paintings, Knoedler & Company New York, NY
1990 Donald Sultan: Screenprints and Etchings, Greg Kucera Gallery Seattle, WA
1990 Donald Sultan, Equinox Gallery Vancouver, Canada
1990 Donald Sultan, Waddington Galleries London, England
1990 Summer Exhibit, Knoedler & Company New York, NY
1989 Waldo Crommelynck Master Prints with American Artists, Whitney Museum of American Art - Equitable Center New York, NY
1989 Donald Sultan: Sculpture, Blum Helman Gallery Santa Monica, CA
1989 Donald Sultan: Playing Cards Drawings, Paul Kasmin Gallery, Inc. New York, NY
1989 Donald Sultan: Works on Paper, Runkle-Hue Williams, Ltd. London, England
1989 Donald Sultan: New Sculpture, The Greenberg Gallery St. Louis, MO
1989 Donald Sultan: Drawings, Knoedler & Company New York, NY
1989 Donald Sultan: A Selection of Prints, Richard Green Gallery New York, NY
1989 Donald Sultan: Drawing - Painting, Meredith Long Gallery Houston, TX
1989 Donald Sultan: Dominoes, Playing Cards, Fruits and Flowers, Greg Kucera Gallery Seattle, WA
1989 Donald Sultan, Richard Green Gallery Santa Monica, CA
1988 Donald Sultan: Black Lemons, Museum of Modern Art New York, NY
1988 Donald Sultan, Galerie Montenay Paris, France
1988 Donald Sultan, La Galerie Alice Pauli Lausanne, Switzerland
1988 Donald Sultan: Prints and Drawings, Marina Hamilton Gallery New York, NY
1988 Viewpoints: Paintings and Sculpture from the Guggenheim Museum Collection and Major Loans, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum New York, NY
1987 Donald Sultan: Linoleum Paintings 12 x 12, Akira Ikeda Gallery Nagoya, Japan
1987 Donald Sultan: Cigarette Paintings 1980-1981, Photographs 1985-1986, Blum Helman Gallery New York, NY
1987 Donald Sultan: Recent Paintings, Blum Helman Gallery New York, NY
1987 Donald Sultan: Small Paintings, Small Drawings 1978-1987, Barbara Krakow Gallery Boston, MA
1987 Donald Sultan, Museum of Contemporary Art (Traveled) Chicago, IL
1987 Donald Sultan, Gian Enzo Sperone Gallery Seattle, WA
1987 Donald Sultan: Black Lemons - Recent Paintings, Greg Kucera Gallery Seattle, WA
1986 Donald Sultan: Drawings, Blum Helman Gallery New York, NY
1986 Donald Sultan: A Survey, A.P. Giannini Gallery Bank of America, San Francisco, CA
1986 Donald Sultan, Galerie Montenay-Desol Paris, France
1986 Donald Sultan: gravures monumentales, Galerie de L'estampe Contemporaine Bibliotheque Nationale, Rostonde Colbert, Paris, France
1986 Donald Sultan: Drawings and Paintings, The Greenberg Gallery St. Louis, MO
1986 Donald Sultan: Drawings, Blum Helman Gallery Los Angeles, CA
1985 Donald Sultan: New Paintings, Blum Helman Gallery New York, NY
1985 Donald Sultan: Prints 1979-1985, Barbara Krakow Gallery (traveled) Boston, MA
1985 Donald Sultan, Small Paintings, Blum Helman Gallery New York, NY
1985 Donald Sultan, Gian Enzo Sperone Rome, Italy
1984 Donald Sultan: New Paintings, Blum Helman Gallery New York, NY
1983 Donald Sultan: Bilder und Zeichnungen, Hans Strelow Gallery Dusseldorf, Germany
1983 Donald Sultan, Akira Ikeda Gallery Tokyo, Japan
1982 Donald Sultan, Blum Helman Gallery New York, NY
1981 Donald Sultan: Recent Paintings, Daniel Weinberg Gallery San Francisco, CA
1980 Donald Sultan, Willard Gallery New York, NY
1979 Donald Sultan, Willard Gallery New York, NY
1979 Donald Sultan, Young Hoffman Gallery Chicago, IL
1977 Artists Space, Artists Space New York, NY
1977 Turning the Room Sideways, The Institute of Art and Urban Resources P.S. 1 Special Projects Room, Long Island City, NY
1976 N.A.M.E. Gallery, N.A.M.E. Gallery Chicago, IL



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