Stanley Whitney

I was always a colorist, so I had to figure out some way of how to put color in space. - Stanley Whitney

Stanley Whitney is an American artist who creates works using blocks of opaque and transparent colors.


Whitney was born in Philadelphia in 1946. His family lived above his father’s shoe store in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Whitney studied at the Kansas City Art Institute and received an MFA from the Yale School of Art in 1972.


He spent the summer of 1968 studying with Philip Guston, whose Abstract works at that time inspired Whitney. He moved to New York City in 1968, at a time when Black artists were expected to create realistic works that portrayed the Black experience in America. Whitney was interested in color and abstraction.


In 1973, Whitney began to teach at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University, commuting from New York to Philadelphia. The position led to an opportunity for Whitney and his wife, artist Marina Adams, to spend five years in Rome, beginning in 1992.


After years of struggle, in 2015, Whitney had two exhibits in New York that led to critical acclaim. In 2021, an auction record for the artist was set at Christie’s London, when his painting Light a New Wilderness, 2016, sold for more than $700,000.

His works are in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and  the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.


Stanley Whitney and his wife divide their time between their homes and studios in New York, Bridgehampton, Long Island and Parma, Italy.


Hilarie M. Sheets. Stanley Whitney Dances With Matisse. The New York Times. October 29, 2021.



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