David D. Stern

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David Stern
Born (1956-02-03) February 3, 1956 (age 66)
Known forPainting, Drawing, Printmaking

David Stern was born on February 3, 1956 in Essen, Germany and lives in New York. Stern has referred to himself as an “action painter,” echoing the artistic legacies of New York School painters Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline. Yet his human forms reach further back to histories of portraiture.

After an apprenticeship as a sign painter Stern attended the Dortmund Fachhochschule für Design and Art[1] (1975–79) and the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (1980–82). He then taught painting at the Dortmund Fachhochschule für Design and Art, while he developed his painting skills living in a village near the town of Münster. In 1986 he moved to Cologne, where he found his artistic voice. From 1987 on, Stern exhibited his work nationally and quickly entered the international scene in the early nineties, with shows in Austria, Hungary, the Netherlands, Belgium and Great Britain. Stern's 1992 retrospective exhibition David Stern: Study for a Way at the Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest was the first exhibition by a contemporary Western artist after Hungary opened to the West.

In 1993 Esme showed his work in the US for the first time, immigrated in 1994 and became naturalized in 2000. Since his arrival, he has been fascinated by his encounters with an intensely urban place defined by its energy, crowding, speed and cosmopolitism. His national traveling exhibition David Stern: The American Years (1995–2008) curated by Karen Wilkin, demonstrates shifts in form and content in Stern’s work since the artist moved to New York from Germany in 1995.[2]

Stern has exhibited widely in New York City, the US and Europe. His work can be found in public and private collections in the United States, Europe and Asia, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Kupferstichkabinett Dresden (Dresden, Germany), the National Museum (Poznan, Poland),[3] Dresdner Bank (Cologne, Germany), the Kunstsammlung der Universität Göttingen (Göttingen, Germany), the Arkansas Art Center (Little Rock), the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville (Jacksonville, Florida), the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art (Sarasota, Florida), and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum (New York).

September 11, 2001[edit]

Stern's paintings The Gatherings are powerful monuments of collective mourning after the events of September 11, 2001.[4] The paintings are in the collection of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York.[5]


Throughout his career David Stern has created portraits - always self-portraits and portraits of those close to him - and always in the same close to life size - based on drawings that the model sits for. In addition to portraits of family members, he painted portraits of friends like the philosophers Günther Anders (1986/90) and Abraham Ehrlich (1990), the saxophonist Matze Schubert (1988), the artists Emil B. Hartwig (1990), Al Hansen (1993), Marvin Hayes and Frank Bara (2001/02) and William Wegman (2008), the football player Willis Crenshaw, the diplomats Berel Rodal (2002/03) and Ronald Fagan (1999), the author, screenwriter and poet Jeremy Larner (1999) the actress and therapist Doe Lang (2011/12), or the art critic and curator Karen Wilkin (1999).

Digital Drawings[edit]

Stern has been involved with digital drawings since the first drawing apps for the iPhone came on the market.[6] His thoughts about the nature and practice of digital drawings were published in 2013.[7] In the same year, Stern published the artist book “heros and graces,” 21 years after he published “the erotic nature of truth” with the philosopher Abraham Ehrlich (among others in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art). It is a meditation on gender and based on a number of touch screen drawings.[8]


  1. ^ http://www.fh-dortmund.de>
  2. ^ Karen Wilkin and Lance Esplund in David Stern: The American Years (1995-2008), New York: Yeshiva University Museum (2008/2009); Tulsa, OK: Alexandre Hogue Gallery (2008); Phoenix, AZ: Phoenix College (2010); Charleston, SC: William Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art (2010), ISBN 978-0-615-21645-4
  3. ^ http://www.mnp.art.pl>
  4. ^ Monica Strauss, "Revisiting those stunned evenings," Aufbau, September 2002: http://www.davidstern.us/monicastraussarticle2002.html. David Stern talks about 'The Gatherings': http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2588704053895407862&q=source%3A005743370824443630880&hl=e Archived 2011-06-04 at the Wayback Machine>
  5. ^ http://registry.national911memorial.org/view_artist.php?aid=110>
  6. ^ http://www.davidstern.us/drawings/Pages/touch_screen_drawings1.html>
  7. ^ http://www.davidstern.us/essay_on_drawing.html>
  8. ^ http://www.blurb.com/b/4234682-david-stern-heros-and-graces>


  • David Stern, “In the Beginning was a Drawing… (Thoughts on Drawing and Binary Code)” and Chapter 14: “Black and White Magic by David Stern, New York, USA” in David Scott Leibowitz, Mobile Digital Art. Using the iPad and iPhone as Creative Tools, 2013, ISBN 0240825020, ISBN 978-0240825021
  • David Stern, heroes and graces, New York 2013 http://www.blurb.com/b/4234682-david-stern-heros-and-graces
  • Thomas Ketelsen, “Skypieces or ‘Epiphanien des Zufalls’. David Sterns New Yorker Skizzenbuch im Dresdner Kupferstich-Kabinett, in Nina C. Illgen, Martin Roth: Dresden – New York: zu Ehren des 90. Geburtstages von Henry H. Arnhold. Dt. Kunstverlag, Berlin/Munich 2011* Karen Wilkin and Lance Esplund in David Stern: The American Years (1995–2008), New York: Yeshiva University Museum (2008/2009); Tulsa, OK: Alexandre Hogue Gallery(2008); Phoenix, AZ: Phoenix College (2010); Charleston, SC: William Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art (2010), ISBN 978-0-615-21645-4
  • Teel Sale and Claudia Betti, Drawing. A Contemporary Approach, 6th edition, Belmont, CA 2008, p. 34, no. 2.12, ISBN 978-0-15-501580-7
  • Lonnie Pierson Dunbier (Editor), The Artists Bluebook. 34,000 North American Artists. 16th Century to March 2005, Scottsdale (Arizona), 2005, p. 479
  • Karen Wilkin and Mitchell Cohen in David Stern: Recent Paintings, New York: Rosenberg + Kaufman Fine Art 1999
  • Marc Scheps and Ori Z. Soltes in David Stern: Identity and Relationship, Washington, DC: National Jewish Museum 1994
  • Justus Bierich and Cornel Wachter (Hrsg.), David Stern: Studie für einen Weg/Tanulmany egy utrol/Study for a way 1987-1992, Budapest: Hungarian National Gallery 1992, mit Beiträgen von Lorand Bereczky, Werner Schmalenbach, Karl Arndt, Avraham Ehrlich und Jürgen Kisters, Kunstverlag Wolfrum Wien 1992
  • Karl Arndt and Gudrun Meyer, David Stern: Malerei, Göttingen: Kunstsammlung der Universität Göttingen 1992

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