(American, b. 1951)
Eggs and Lemons, Nov. 21, 1985, 1985.
Ink on paper.
15 x 15 inches.
Gund Gallery Collection; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Graham Gund ’63.
Donald Sultan rose to prominence in the late 1970s in New York City as part of the “New Image” movement. His work is simultaneously abstract and representational, incorporating basic geometric and organic forms in a “visual purity” that is both subtle and monumental. Sultan was one of the first contemporary artists to use a wide range of industrial tools and materials in his work in opposition to traditional brushes and paint. He is known for large-scale still life paintings that are created with materials inspired by his father’s tire business such as tar, spackle, and vinyl tiles. Sultan’s paintings fall into two main groups, the first of which are bold, crisply defined shapes silhouetted against contrasting backgrounds while the second group contains dark, menacing images inspired by disastrous industrial accidents such as warehouse fires, airplane crashes, and freight train derailments. With the first group, Sultan sought to equally emphasize both the negative and positive spaces, while the second group is much darker with far less contrast and balance.