Donald Sultan is a contemporary painter best known for his use of industrial materials to depict everyday subjects.
Sultan uses recurring imagery—such as flowers, playing cards, and lemons—to create colorful still lifes framed by tar-black backgrounds.
“The series speaks to the impermanence of all things. The largest cities, the biggest structures, the most powerful empires—everything dies,” he explained of his Disaster Paintings. “Man is inherently self-destructive, and whatever is built will eventually be destroyed.”
Born on May 5, 1952 in Asheville, NC, he received his BFA from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and later his MFA from the School of the Art Institute Chicago before moving to New York in 1975.
In the city, he became a part of the New Image movement along with fellow painters Susan Rothenberg and Julian Schnabel.
In addition to his paintings, Sultan has collaborated with the Pulitzer-prize winning playwright David Mamet on the illustrated novel Bar Mitzvah (1999).
His works are represented in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Tate Gallery in London, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, among others.
Sultan continues to live and work in New York, NY.