Burton Silverman

2005

Burton Silverman was the recipient of the Newington-Cropsey Cultural Studies Center Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2005.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Mr. Silverman has been an unwavering champion and exponent of realism in the American tradition of Thomas Eakins and Edward Hopper. His portraits—unflinchingly observed yet tempered by compassion—have appeared on the cover of Time magazine and in The New Yorker. His scenes of urban life combine the convincing spontaneity of a snapshot with careful composition, psychological insight and painterly facture.

Mr. Silverman, who graduated from Columbia University in 1949, has influenced generations of young artists via his teaching—first at the School of Visual Arts in the mid-1960s and in studio classes since 1971. He has furthered the contemporary realism revival through not only the excellence of his own work but his lectures at museums and art schools across the country.

Describing his commitment to the painter’s craft and a humanistic vision, Mr. Silverman has written: “I am stuck with my passion for the objective world, for the constantly shifting shades of meaning in the events of my life, to the states of being of the people I paint, and to the persistent need to get it right.”