Burton Silverman

Mr. Silverman has had 31 solo shows in New York, Boston, Philadelphia Washington, D.C. and San Francisco He has appeared in numerous national and international exhibitions including the National Portrait Gallery, the National Academy Annuals, the Mexico City Museum of Art, the Royal Academy of Art in London and the Butler Midyear Annuals,   He has won 37 major prizes and awards from such annual exhibitions and the National Academy Museum has honored him with 9 awards including the Ranger Purchase Awards in 1983 and 1965. 

Very early on in my life, I fell in love with the landscape of the human face, where all the emotional states of life are to be found, and that love affair has not faltered. I react to images of everyday life, but often those aspects that present some ambiguous or contradictory moral equation. I am particularly affected by images -  of the unspectacular and the unheralded – of people who have, for many years now,  been left out of the loop.  This often means portrait like paintings   in which the specific (person) can also become the paradigm for the general.- In a world adumbrated by the sensational -shock and celebrity, -the immediate texture of our lives needs to be seen again for the “beauty” it can provide. (“I will try to elaborate on that problematic word “beauty”)

His paintings are represented in nearly two dozen public collections including the Arkansas Art Institute, the Brooklyn Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the New Britain Museum, the Mint Museum, the Denver Art Museum, the National Museum of American Art, the Delaware Art Museum, the Columbus Museum and the National Portrait Gallery.   His work is included in numerous private collections both in the U.S. and Europe.

In 2006 A retrospective exhibit of the Intimate Eye; the Drawings of Burton Silverman opened at the Brigham Young Museum of art and traveled to the Butler institute of American Art and the Lyme Academy College of Art in 2007. February 2005 he was awarded the 7th Annual Excellence in the Arts Award from the Newington Cropsey Cultural Foundation May and June of 2004 the Delaware Art Museum hosted the exhibition “Glorious Dignity: Drawings of the Montgomery Bus Boycott by Harvey Dinnerstein and Burton Silverman” and a sequential loan exhibit of these works has been shown in a 50th Anniversary Exhibition: Protest in Montgomery at the Montgomery Museum of Art in 2006.
In May 2004 he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Portrait Society of America for lifetime achievement in figurative art in 1999 received the John Singer Sargent Medal from the American Society of Portrait Artists for a similar career of distinction. 

In 2002 he received an Honorary Doctorate from the Academy of Art College in San Francisco. In February of 1999, the Butler Institute of American Art held a 25-year retrospective exhibition of his work titled Sight and Insight; the Art of Burton Silverman.   The exhibit also traveled to the Brigham Young Museum in Utah (May, 1999.)   A full monograph and catalog accompanied this exhibition. In the Spring of 1995 he conducted a seminar at the National Academy entitled “The Realist Alternative” that probed the possible reemergence of realism as a viable alternative to modernist art.   It included Tom Wolfe, Sidney Goodman and Harvey Dinnerstein.

Born 1928, Brooklyn, NY.

Education: BA Columbia University. Served AUS 1951-1953

Taught: the School of Visual Arts, NYC 1964-65; Studio Classes, 1971-to present Positions: Member of the Council, the National Academy of Design, 1976-78; 2001-2003, Membership Committee 2003-20051 Member of the Council; American Watercolor Society 1992-94

Awards & Honors:

  • 2007 Berkelson Award, the National Academy Museum 181st Exhibition
  • 2005 Newington Cropsey Cultural Center Annual Award for Excellence in
  • the Arts Gold Medal Lifetime Award , National Portrait Society Boston MA
  • 2002 Dong Kingman Award, The American Watercolor Society Annual, NYC
  • Honorary Doctorate awarded by the Academy of Art College, San Francisco, CA
  • 1997 Paul and Margaret Berkelson Prize, National Academy of Design, NYC
  • 1997 Mario Cooper Award The AWS Annual, , NYC
  • 1996 Clara Stroud Memorial, The AWS, NYC
  • 1995 The Silver Medal of Honor, the Annual of the American Watercolor Society, NYC
  • 1994 Clara Stroud Memorial, AWS Annual , NYC
  • 1992 The Joseph Isidor Medal, National Academy of Design Annual, NYC
  • 1991 The High Winds Medal, AWS Annual NYC
  • 1991 Smith Distinguished Visiting Professor, the George Washington University, Wash., DC
  • 1991 Elected Hall of Fame, Pastel Society of America
  • 1990 The Catherine Stroud Memorial Award, AWS Annual , NYC
  • 1989 The Mary PLeisner Memorial Award, Aws Annual, NYC
  • 1987The Mary Pleisner Memorial Award, AWS Annual, NYC
  • 1985 The High Winds Medal, AWS Annual, NYC
  • 1984 The Silver Medal, AWS Annual
  • 1983 Henry W. Ranger Puchase Prize, Nat’l Academy of Design
  • 1982 Painting Prize, Hudson River Annual, Hudson River Museum, NY
  • 1982 Purchase Prize, American Drawings IV , Portsmouth Museums, Va.
  • 1982 Honorable Mention, Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown OH
  • 1982 The Hardy Gramatky Memorial Award, th AWS Annual
  • 1981 The Paul B. Remmey Memorial Award, AWS Annual
  • 1980 The Barse Miller Memorial Award, AWS Annual
  • 1979 Elected member American Watercolor Society
  • 1979 Purchase Prize, American Drawings II, Portsmouth Museums, VA
  • 1979 Gold Medal, AWS Annual, NYC
  • 1977 Figure Prize, Pastel Society of America Annual, NYC
  • 1969 Elected to National Academy of Design
  • 1969 First Benjamin Altman Figure Prize, Nat’l Academy of Design Annual
  • 1967 Joseph Isidor Gold Medal, NAD Annual,
  • 1966 Thomas R. Proctor Prize, NAD Annual
  • 1965 Henry W Ranger Purchase Prize, NAD Annual ‘Study of Harvey Dinnerstein’, 39 x 22” Charcoal
  • 1964 Purchase Prize, Art On Paper, Univ. of No. Carolina
  • 1961 S.J. Wallace Truman Prize, NAD Annual


Public Collections:

  • The Anchorage Museum of Art and History
  • The Arkansas Art Institute, LittleRock, AR
  • The Brooklyn Museum
  • The Butler Institute of American Art*
  • The Brigham Young Museum of Art *
  • Cornell University
  • The Denver Art Museum
  • The Century Association, NYC
  • The Dillard Collection, University of No.Carolina Hofstra University Museum
  • The Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC
  • The National Academy Museum, NYC
  • The National Museum of American Art
  • The National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Museums
  • The New Britain Museum of American Art
  • The Ogunquit Museum of American Art, Maine
  • The Parrish Museum of Art, Southhampton. NY
  • The Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • The Queensboro Community College Art Gallery, NY
  • The Rutgers University Museum, Camden, NJ
  • The Seven Bridges Foundation, Greenwich CT
  • The University of Utah


Solo Exhibitions:

  • 2006-7 The Intimate Eye; Drawings by Burton Silverman, Brigham Young Museum of Art, Provo, UT
  • Traveling to the Butler Institute of American Art , the Lyme Academy
  • of Art College.
  • 2006 Frey Norris Gallery, San Francisco,
  • 2004 Gallery Henoch, New York City
  • 2001 Gallery Henoch. New York City
  • Total Arts Gallery, Taos, NM
  • 1998 Merrill Gallery, Denver, CO.
  • 1997 Gerold Wunderlich & Co.,NYC
  • 1996 The Merrill Gallery, Denver, CO.
  • 1996 Gerold Wunderlich & Co, NYC
  • 1993 Joseph Keiffer Gallery, NYC
  • 1991 Capricorn Galleries, Bethesda, MD
  • 1990 Cudahy’s Gallery, NYC
  • 1988 Grand Central Galleries, NYC
  • 1983 Sindin Galleries, NYC
  • 1980 Doll & Richards Gallery, Boston
  • 1979 Capricorn Galleries, Bethesda
  • 1977 FAR Galleries, NYC
  • 1977 Meredith Long Galleries, Houston
  • 1974 Harbor Gallery, LI, NY
  • 1971 Harbor Gallery
  • 1970 Kenmore Galleries, Phila.
  • 1970 Gallery 52, So. Orange, NJ
  • 1970 FAR Galleries,NYC
  • 1967 University of Utah
  • 1965 Kenmore Galleries, Phila.
  • 1965 FAR Galleries
  • 1963 Kenmore Galleries, Phila.
  • 1962 Davis Galleries, NYC
  • 1958 Davis Galleries
  •  1956 Davis Galleries


Group Exhibitions:

  • 2009 Art America,
  • 2009, Warner Westervelt Museum. Tuscaloosa, AL
  • 2008 American Art Invitational, Sachs Gallery, Denver CO
  • 2007 181st Annual Exhibition, The National Academy. Museum, NY Summer Exhibits Gallery 1261 Denver Salon d’Musee, Denver ,CO Gallery Artists , Gallery Henoch, NY
  • 2006 50th Anniversary Exhibiton :Protest in Montgomery w/ Harvey Dinnerstein, Montgomery Museum of Art Salon d’ Arts Invitational, Denver, CO
  • 2005 180th Annual Exhibition, , National Academy of Design, NYC Life on Paper, Frey Norris Gallery, San Francisco, CA 3rd Annual Salon d’ Arts, Denver, CO
  • 2004 Drawings of the Montgomery Bus Boycott , w/ Harvey
  • Dinnerstein, Delaware Art Museum America Seen , Hillsdale College, Hillsdale MI The Nude, Frey Norris Gallery, San Francisco, CA
  • 2003 178th Annual Exhibition, National Academy of Design, NYC Salon d’Arts Denver CO
  • 2002 American Watercolor Society, Annual Exhib., NYC Invited , the Butler Institue of American Art Annual ,Youngstown, OH
  • 2001 The National Academy of Design Annual, NYC Representation Represented V, The Arnot Museum, NY The Artists of America, 20th Anniversary Exhibition, Denver, CO
  • 2000-79 Annual Exhibit., American Watercolor Society NYC
  • 1999-59 Annual Exhibit., National Academy of Design, NYC
  • 1997 Realism in 20th Century American Art , The Ogunquit Museum,Ogunquit, ME
  • 1996 Realist Invitational, The Merrill Gallery, Denver
  • 1994 The Face of America: Watercolors by 50 Contemporary Artists, Old Forge, NY
  • 1994 Getting Real; Contemporary Realism from the collection of Philip Desind; The South Bend Regional Museum, South Bend,Indiana
  • 1994 The Figure; Carol Siple Gallery, Denver
  • 1991-93 International Waters Traveling Exhibition in Canada, UK and USA
  • 1993 Annual Exhibit.The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH ( Also for the years 1972,’76,’77,’79,82 &’88 )
  • 1993 The Self; Self-portraits from the James Goode Collection; The National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Museums, Wash., DC
  • 1992 Masters of Figurative Art, Leslie Levy Gallery, Scottsdale, AR
  • 1990 AWS International Exhibit, The Mexico City Museum of Art.
  • 1987 Mainstream America; The Collection of of Philip Desind, The Butler Institute of American Art.
  • 1987 Art and the Law, The West Collection, St. Paul. MINN.
  • 1983 The National Drawing Invitational, Kansas State Univ.
  • 1982 The Hudson River Annual, The Hudson River Museum, NY
  • 1982 American Drawings I, I, III, IV, Portsmouth Museums, VA (also for the years 1976,’79’ & ’80 )
  • 1980 20th Century Prints, The Parrish Museum of Art, South Hampton, LI, NY
  • 1978 The Childe Hassam Fund Invitational, Amer. Inst.of Arts & Letters, NY (Also for the years 1976, 1974)
  • 1977 American Drawing Invitational, San Diego Arts Festival
  • 1975 The Figure, Penn State Univ.Museum, PA
  • 1973 Traveling Exhibition, Pratt Institute Graphic Center, NYC
  • 1968 The Collection of Walter & Lucille Fillin, Hofstra Univ. Museum, NY
  • 1966 Realists 66, The San Diego Arts Festival, San Diego, CA
  • 1965 Annual Exhibition, The Silvermine Guild, Silvermine , CT
  • 1964 Four Realists, The New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT
  • 1963 75 Years of American Realism, Hirschl & Adler Galleries, NYC
  • 1962 Contemporary American Realistic Painting, Albany Institute of Art & History, NY
  • 1961 Contemporary Realists II, Huntington Hartford Museum
  • 1961 A Realist View, The National Arts Club, NYC
  • 1957 The Artist As Reporter ; Drawings of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Davis Galleries, NYC
  • 1949 The Annual of the Pennsylvania Academy of Art, Phila.,PA


Selected Publications:

  • Burton Silverman “A New Look At Protest; the Eight since 1908” with Harvey Dinnerstein ARTnews, Feb 1958
  • “Homage to Thomas Eakins” book review Book World, June 1968 New York Herald Tribune
  • “Art for Pablo Picasso’s Sake”, book review Book World Dec. 1967, NY Herald Tribune
  • “Painting People”Watson Guptil, NY 1977
  • “A Portfolio of Drawings” Kenmore Press, Phila. 1970
  • “Breaking the Rules of Watercolor” Watson Guptill, NY 1983
  • “Rediscovering Realism” US Art, July ,1990
  • “What Makes Art Great” American Arts Quarterly, July 1991
  • “Great Portraits” The Artists Magazine ;Aug 1991,
  • ” Drawings of the Montgomery Bus Boycot “ Esquire Magazine, Dec. 1964 with Harvey Dinnerstein
  • Clayborne Carson,”The Boycott That Changed Dr..King’s Life” Drawings by Burt Silverman and Harvey Dinnerstein The New York Times” Jan, 1996
  • Elizabeth Case “Drawing the Human Figure; An interview with Burt Silverman” June 1981
  • Frank Whitaker, “Four Realists” American Artist, Oct. 1964
  • Pat Van Gelder “Burt Silverman Captures the Moment”, American Artist June 1972
  • Robert McGrath, Philip Saietta “Sight and Insight, the Art of Burton Silverman”, Madison Square Press ,1999
  • Steven Heller ,Review, ARTSmagazine, January, 1984
  • William Shawn, Introduction, 25 Years of New Yorker Profiles, Exhibit. Catalogue Grand Central Galleries. 1988


Bibliography:

  • Who’s Who in American Art, 1991,1995- 2000 to present
  • Who’s Who,. 1994 ; Anniversary Edition 1995 also ‘96 through 2004
  • Who’s Who in the East 1993, ‘95-present