Donald Sultan


Born in 1951 in Asheville, North Carolina, Donald 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. The work of Donald Sultan is voluminous and varied. Since his first one-man show in 1977, he has enjoyed a distinguished career as painter, printmaker, and sculptor. His extensive body of work has placed him at the forefront of contemporary art, where he has become best known for his ability to successfully merge the best of yesterday's artistic tradition with a fresh, modern approach that is unique.

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, set against the stark, unsettling tar-black, eight-foot square background, dominate the viewer. He is best known for his lemons, flowers and fruit, and states that his subjects develop from previous work. For example: the oval of his lemons has led to a series of oval-blossomed tulips, dots from dice have become oranges. What does not change with Sultan's work is the powerful statement his forms make. Sultan's work incorporates basic geometric and organic forms with a formal purity that is both subtle and monumental. 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's still lifes have been described as studies in contrast. His powerfully sensual, fleshy object representations are rendered through a labor-intensive and unique method.

Sultan has been given numerous exhibitions dedicated to his work, as well as having been included in a number of group shows. Sultan has received two honorary doctorate degrees from The Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C. and the New York Academy of Art. His work is included in the permanent collection of many prestigious institutions including: The Museum of Modern Art in New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, Tate Gallery in London, Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Solo Exhibitions

2017 Button Down Modernism, Galerie Andres Thalmann, Zurich, Switzerland 

2016 Donald Sultan: The Disaster Paintings, Traveling Exhibition

2016 Donald Sultan: New Paintings, Ryan Lee Gallery, New York, NY

2016 Donald Sultan, Baldwin Gallery, Aspen, CO

2015 Donald Sultan, Galeria Freites, Caracas, Venezuela 

2015 Donald Sultan, Galerie Forsblom, Helinski, Finland 

2015 New Works: Poppies, Mimosas and Buttons, Meyerovich Gallery, San Fransisco, CA 

2014 Floral Constructions, Vertu Fine Art, Boca Raton, FL 

2014 Donald Sultan: Artiface, Ryan Lee Gallery, New York, NY

2014 Donald Sultan : A Decade of Paintings and Drawings, Serge Sorokko Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2014 Donald Sultan: Recent Work, Galerie Andres Thalmann, Zurich, Switzerland

2014 Donald Sultan, Meredith Long Gallery, Houston, TX

2013 Echos, Galerie Piece Unique, Paris, France 

2012 Donald Sultan, The Drawing Room, East Hampton, NY

2011 Soot and Shine: New Works, Mary Ryan Gallery, New York, NY

2011 Donald Sultan: New Works, Meredith Long Gallery, Houston, TX

2011 Donald Sultan: New Works, Baldwin Gallery, Aspen, CO

2009 Donald Sultan: Prints, Mary Ryan Gallery, New York, NY

2009 Donald Sultan: The First Decade, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH

2009 Donald Sultan, Greenfield-Sacks Gallery, Santa Monica, CA

2009 Donald Sultan, Galerie Ernst Hilger, Vienna, Austria

2009 Donald Sultan, Ben Brown Fine Arts, London, England

2008 Donald Sultan: Works on Paper, Baldwin Gallery, Aspen, CO

2008 Donald Sultan: Artificial Images, Aidan Gallery, Moscow, Russia

2008 Donald Sultan: Drawings, Forsblom Gallery, Helsinki, Finland

2007 Donald Sultan, Guy Pieters Gallery, Knokke-Heist, Belgium

2007 Donald Sultan: New Work, Meredith Long Gallery, Houston, TX

2006 Donald Sultan: New Paintings, Galerie Forsblom, Helsinki, Finland

2006 Donald Sultan: Colors, Smoke and War, Mary Ryan Gallery, New York, NY

2005 New Paintings, Baldwin Gallery, Aspen, CO

2005 Donald Sultan: 1991 – 2005, Cliff Lede Vineyards, Yountville, CA

2005 Donald Sultan: Paintings and Works on Paper, Centre Cultural Contemporani Pelaires, Mallorca, Spain

2004 Donald Sultan, Meredith Long Gallery, Houston, TX

2004 Donald Sultan: Prints & Drawings, Singapore Tyler Print Institute, Singapore

2004 Donald Sultan: New Poppy Paintings, Ameringer & Yohe Fine Art, New York, NY

2003 Donald Sultan: Poppy Paintings, Knoedler & Company, New York, NY

2003 Donald Sultan: Poppies, Oranges & Mimosas: New Prints and Drawings, Mary Ryan Gallery, New York, NY 

2003 Donald Sultan, Galerie Forsblom, Helsinki, Finland

2002 Donald Sultan, Imago Galleries, Palm Desert, CA

2002 Donald Sultan: Painting Life’s Paradoxes, Louise Cameron Wells Art Museum, Wilmington, NC 

2002 Donald Sultan: Paintings and Works on Paper, Winston Wächter Fine Art, Seattle, WA

2001 Donald Sultan, 10 Paintings, Baldwin Gallery, Aspen, CO

2001 Donald Sultan, Smoke Rings, Dorothy Blau Gallery, Bay Harbor Islands, FL

2001 Donald Sultan: Recent Works, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX

2001 Visuelle Paradoxe, Raab Galerie, Berlin Germany

2001 Smoke Rings, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

2001 Donald Sultan: Recent Works, Hill Gallery, Birmingham, MI

2001 Donald Sultan: Recent Works, Galerie Lutz and Thalmann, Zurich, Switzerland

2001 Donald Sultan; Paintings and Drawings, Lowe Gallery, Atlanta, GA

2000 Donald Sultan: Selected Drawings 1976 – 1998, Hill Gallery, Birmingham, MI

2000 Temporary Contemporary: Selected Works by Donald Sultan, Cheekwood Museum of Art, Nashville, TN

2000 Donald Sultan: In the Still-Life Tradition, Winston Wachter Fine Art, Seattle, WA

2000 Donald Sultan: Paintings & Drawings, Galerie Simonne Stern, New Orleans, LA

2000 Donald Sultan, Meredith Long Gallery, Houston, TX

2000 Donald Sultan: Recent Prints and Drawings, Mary Ryan Gallery, New York, NY

Selected Group Exhibitions

2015 August Flowers, James Barron Art, Kent Gallery, Kent, CT

2015 Frontiers Reimagined, Sundaram Tagore Gallery Palazzo Grimani Museum, Venice, Italy

2015 Antropia, Eduardo Secci Contemporary, Pietrasanta, Italy

2015 Screenprints, Silkscreens, and Serigraphs, Mary Ryan Gallery, New York, NY

2013 New Work, The Drawing Room, East Hampton, NY

2013 Summer Salad, Janet Borden, INC., New York, NY

2012 Cross- Border, Galerie Andres-Thalmann, Engadine, Switzerland

2012 Color Works, Heather Gaudio Fine Art, Greenwich, CT

2012 New Season, New Address, The Drawing Room, East Hampton, NY

2011 Celebrated Artists: Students of Marvin Saltzman, The Mahler Fine Art, Raleigh, NC

2011 American Chambers, Gyeongnam Art Museum, Changwon, Korea

2010 Winter Show, Galerie Andres-Thalmann, Engadine, Switzerland

2010 Exquisite Corpse, Gasser-Grunert Gallery, New York, NY

2010 Artist Perspectives, Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2009 Fifty Works for the First State: Works from the Dorothy and Howard Vogel Collection, Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE

2008 Here’s The Thing: The Single Object Still Life, Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY

2008 Gifted: Recent Additions to the Permanent Collection, Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE

2007 Landscape: Form and Thought, Ingrao Gallery, New York, NY

2007 Substance and Surface, Bortolami Gallery, New York, NY

2006 Garden Paradise, The Arsenal Gallery, New York, NY 

2006 Neil Jenney + Donald Sultan: The Art Bar, Ingrao Gallery, New York, NY

2006 The Food Show: The Hungry Eye, Chelsea Art Museum, New York, NY

2003 Drawing Relationships, Knoedler & Company, New York, NY

2002 Contemporary American Art: Art in Embassies Program, Embassy of the United States of America, Vienna

2002 Art Downtown, Wall Street Rising at 45 Wall Street, New York, NY

2002 The Sea The Sea, Art Upstairs @ Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, Easthampton, NY

2002 Masks: John Chamberlain, Drawings: Donald Sultan, Clark Fine Art, Southampton, NY

2002 Plotting: An Exhibition of Artist Studies, Carrie Secrist Gallery, Chicago, IL

2001 Celebrating Modern Art: The Anderson Collection, SFMOMA, San Francisco, CA

2001 Cote d’Azur: Art, Modernity and the Myth of the French Riviera, AXA Gallery, New York, NY

2001 Digital Printmaking Now, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY

2001 Models of Observation, Knoedler & Company, New York, NY

2000 Especes d’Arbres: Visions of Nature in Contemporary Art, Denise Cade Gallery, New York, NY

2000 Art of the 80’s, Winston Wachter Mayer Fine Art, New York, NY

2000 Summer 2000 Prints, David Adamson Gallery, Washington D.C.

2000 Prints & Drawings from Lincoln Center, Galerie Simonne Stern, New Orleans, LA

2000 September Selections, Knoedler & Co., New York, NY

2000 Blue, Carrie Secrist Gallery, Chicago, IL

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