Stanley Whitney Earns Inaugural De Niro Prize
USA- New York, NY | Nov 27 2011 | (09:00:44 - EDT)
New York-based painter Stanley Whitney was named the inaugural recipient of the $25,000 Robert De Niro Sr. Prize recently.
The award is administered by the Tribeca Film Institute and its co-founder, actor Robert De Niro, in honor of his father, who was a painter of the postwar New York School and whose work is in the permanent collections of several institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum.
The award honors a mid-career artist and is selected by a jury of leading art-world figures. The 65-year-old Mr. Whitney, who is known for his colorful geometric paintings, said in an interview that he was surprised by the award: "I'm glad they think of me as a mid-career artist."
In a statement, the jury members explained their choice: "Stanley Whitney proves that you can be a traditionalist without being a conservative. His concerns are those of painters from the Venetians through Delacroix to the Abstract Expressionists: color, light, and a sense of movement communicated through visual rhythm—but his painting is a continual adventure in these realms that he shows to be without limit."
Mr. Whitney, who earned a BFA at the Kansas City Art Institute, came to New York in 1968 and continues to live here, as well as in Parma, Italy.
"I've been lucky that my paintings have gotten better," he said. "I think I bit off enough that I had a lot to work on, but I still have more to work on. My work is all about color. I kind of developed slowly in terms of my ideas about what that meant."
Mr. Whitney will be teaching in January at the Cooper Union and has taught extensively at Temple University's Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, as well as at its Rome campus. Of his teaching philosophy, he said he keeps things basic while imparting a key truth: "You have to be able to work through the frustrations. You have to realize that a bad day is a good day. Once they learn to do that, they're on their way."
As for what he intends to do with the prize, he said some of it will go to improving his studio—and to upcoming tuition bills. "My son is going to college next year," he said. "He's applying to eight schools. Everything helps."
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