Donald Sultan (b.1951) is a painter, printmaker, and sculptor, best known for his massive still lifes and landscapes, and noted for his use of abstracted black forms against areas of bright color. Weighty and structured, Sultan’s paintings are simultaneously abstract and representational: while his imagery is immediately recognizable – flowers, daily objects, insignia – the dominating, abstract forms contradict its common association with fragility. Sultan uses industrial materials, including vinyl, linoleum, and masonite, juxtaposing his traditional subject matter with unusual materials. These works often involve creating layers of tar and rubber on top of slabs of linoleum or masonite, which are then stripped away in pieces to reveal the multiple surfaces beneath and then painted over again. The finished works combine a Minimalist aesthetic of few colors and geometric shapes with a highly unique
treatment and destruction of surface, distinctively textured and equally balancing positive and negative space.
Born in Asheville, North Carolina, Sultan received his BFA from the University of North Carolina, Chapel
Hill, and his MA from the Art Institute of Chicago. Since 1977, Sultan has traveled internationally with
solo exhibitions at many prominent contemporary art galleries, including the Knoedler Gallery and Blum-Helman Gallery in New York, the Waddington Gallery in London, and Galerie Daniel Templon in Paris, among others.
His works are featured in permanent collections of over 50 major museums throughout the world, including
Museum of Modern Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Dallas Museum of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles; Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain; Tate Modern, UK; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. The artist lives and works in New York, NY and Sag Harbor, NY.