Burton Silverman (b.1928)

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Burton Silverman (b.1928). Gillie, c.1960’s. Oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches; 21 x 25 inches framed. Signed lower right. No damage or restoration.



After discharge from the US Army in 1953, Burton Silverman began an earnest professional career. Since then he has had had 32 solo shows across the country including venues in New York, Boston, Philadelphia,Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Maine and Nashville TN.

He has appeared in close to 40 national and international exhibitions including National Portrait Gallery, National Academy of Design Annual, Mexico City Museum of Art, Royal Academy of Art in London, and Butler Midyear Annual. He has won 32 major prizes and awards 9 prizes from the National Academy Museum Annual exhibitions and purchase awards from several others

His paintings are represented in twenty seven public collections including Brooklyn Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, The New Britain Museum, Butler institute of American Art, Arkansas Art Center, Denver Art Museum, National Museum of American Art, Delaware Art Museum, Columbus Museum, GA. and National Portrait Gallery.

In 2002, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, and in 2004 the Gold Medal of the Portrait Society of America for lifetime achievement. A similar award for lifetime accomplishment was awarded by the Newington Cropsey Cultural Center in 2005

He has had 4 major retrospectives of his work the most recent being paintings of the last decade, which were shown in two sequential exhibits. The first titled: “Realism Recovered; the Art of Burton Silverman,” was at the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art in Tulsa, OK July-Sept 2010; and the second titled: “Burton Silverman; The Humanist Spirit” was at the Hofstra University Museum in Long Island, NY Sept-Dec. 2011.

In 2007, a drawing retrospective titled “The Intimate Eye; The Drawings of Burton Silverman” was shown at the Brigham Young Museum, the Butler Institute, and the Lyme Academy College of Fine Art. In 1999-2000, a 25-year retrospective titled “Sight and Insight; The Art of Burton Silverman” was held at the Butler Institute of American Art and the Brigham Young Museum in Utah. Both were of these earlier retrospectives and were accompanied by fully illustrated monographs.

In 1956, along with colleague Harvey Dinnerstein, Silverman elected to go to Alabama to make a graphic record of the seminal Montgomery Bus Boycott, and together they produced 95 drawings of that event. These became part of the permanent collection of the Delaware Art Museum. In 2004 the museum hosted the exhibition “Glorious Dignity: Drawings of the Montgomery Bus Boycott by Harvey Dinnerstein and Burton Silverman.” These drawings were also shown in a 50th Anniversary Exhibition at the Montgomery Museum of Art in 2006.

Burton Silverman has been a leader in the recent resurgence of Realist art, and since 1993 has lectured in museums and university graduate programs on this subject. He has written articles in art journals on the same subject matter

The artist has also had a simultaneous career as an illustrator with portrait covers for Time Magazine, and drawings for the New Yorker’s “Profiles” spanning a 25 year period in which he additionally worked for almost all the major national magazines and many corporate clients. This culminated in his election to the Museum of American Illustration’s Hall of Fame in1992. He ceased working as a freelance illustrator in 1994 to devote all his time to painting.