Donald Sultan


Donald Sultan (born 1951) is a painter best known for his massive still lifes and landscapes, and noted for his use of abstracted black forms against areas of bright color.After receiving his BFA from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Sultan moved to Chicago to earn his MA from the Art Institute of Chicago.


During the 1970s and 1980s, Sultan began to paint using 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, which are then painted over. The finished works combine a Minimalist aesthetic of few colors and geometric shapes with a highly unique treatment and destruction of surface. 

His work is included in internationally renowned public and private collections, among them British Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Tate Gallery, London.


Related works

  • Contemporary artist Jim Dine’s recognizable style is characterized by recurring visual motifs and an expressive mark-making technique. View his work.
  • Richard Serra also used industrial materials to create his minimalist works evoking architectural forms. View his work.