Burton Silverman

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Burton Silverman
Born 1928 (age 89–90)
Brooklyn, New York City
Nationality American
Education The High School of Music & Art
Art Students League
Alma mater Columbia University
Known for Painting, Drawing
Notable work Aqualung cover
Movement Classical Realism
Website BurtonSilverman.com

Burton Silverman (born 1928 in Brooklyn)[1] is an American painter known for his Classical realist portraits of working-class people.


Silverman studied at The High School of Music & Art (where he was classmates with fellow realist painter Harvey Dinnerstein)[2] and the Art Students League.[1] He graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in art history.[2]


In 1954, Silverman became a friend of Soviet intelligence agent Wiliam Fisher (better known as Rudolf Abel) who lived in New York City as artist Emil Goldfus and was arrested in 1957.[3]

Silverman painted the cover of the 1971 Jethro Tull album Aqualung. It features a watercolour portrait of a long-haired, bearded man in shabby clothes. The band's Ian Anderson recalls posing for a photograph for the painting, though Silverman claims it was a self-portrait. The artwork was commissioned and purchased by Chrysalis Records head Terry Ellis. Silverman claims the art was only licensed for use as an album cover, and not for merchandising; and approached the band seeking remuneration for its further use. Silverman and Anderson have different accounts of level of enmity involved in this. The original artwork for both the front and back covers are now privately owned by an unknown family, apparently having been stolen from a London hotel room.[4]

Silverman taught for many years at New York City's Art Students League.[1] He has also taught at the School of Visual Arts and given private lessons out of his Upper West Side studio.[2]

Public exhibitions[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Goldberg, Ira. "INTERVIEWS: In Search of the Humane: An Interview with Burton Silverman," Linea (OCTOBER 1, 2010).
  2. ^ a b c Malafronte, Allison. "In the Studio: Burton Silverman," Newington-Cropsey Cultural Studies Center. Accessed Nov. 2, 2016.
  3. ^ Ward, Nathan. "The Spy of Cadman Plaza," New York Times (Apr. 26, 2009).
  4. ^ Lawson, Dom; Donlevy, Michael (2011). "The Last Gasp". Classic Rock Presents Prog. Classic Rock (15): 34–45. 

External links[edit]