Syd Solomon

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Syd Solomon
BornJuly 12, 1917
DiedJanuary 28, 2004 (age 86)
EducationArt Institute of Chicago, L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts
Known forPainter
MovementAbstract expressionism

Syd Solomon (July 12, 1917 – January 28, 2004) was an American abstract artist. He spent most of his time in his homes in both East Hampton, NY and Sarasota, Florida which influenced many of his paintings. His works have been featured at The Guggenheim, The Whitney, Corcoran Gallery of Art, The Wadsworth Athenaeum and several others.

Early life[edit]

Solomon was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania to a Jewish family. And this is where he also got his start painting, in high school.[1] Later he went on to study at the Art Institute of Chicago from 1935 to 1938.[2] In 1940 he enlisted in the Engineer Aviation Regiment, First Camouflage Battalion of the military.[2] During this time Solomon helped design camouflage for the California coast near the San Francisco area.[2] Later he was assigned to the Royal Engineer Camouflage Corps in London where he designed camouflage to be used against the Germans in World War II.[2] He even went on to earn the Bronze star for his contributions during the Battle of the Bulge.[3] During his time in London he mostly performed aerial reconnaissance which inspired his ideas of abstract art.[1] After leaving the military he went on to attend classes at the French art school L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1945.[1]

Late life[edit]

Solomon and his wife Annie moved to Sarasota, Florida in 1946. Sarasota is home to the Ringling Museum of Art where Solomon first began displaying his work.[1] His was the first work by a contemporary artist to be displayed in the museum.[1] His work was quickly noticed by the other artist and curators.[1]

Solomon's art was included in several national exhibitions throughout the 1950s. In 1955 the couple first visited East Hampton, New York, which soon after became their second home.[4] By 1959 the Solomons had developed the ritual of spending winter and spring in Sarasota and then autumn in the Hamptons.[1] Solomon continued this dual lifestyle for over the next 30 years.[1] The environmental settings of his two homes worked as inspiration in his paintings. By this point the Solomon family had also grown to include a daughter Michele, and later a son Michael. By 1959 the artist had begun regular showings in New York at the Saidenberg Gallery while also doing shows in both the Hamptons and in Miami.[1]

In the 1960s Solomon's reputation reached a high point and he was being shown at many of the finest museums in the world.[1] In 1961 he received several awards and accolades including the 13th New England Annual and the Painting of the Year from the Whitney Museum of American Art.[1] This popularity made him an influential personality in both his Hamptons and Sarasota communities.[5] He helped bring many well-established artists down to Florida after he started his Institute of Fine Art at New College.[4] Through the school he brought many well-known artists to Florida, including James Brooks, Larry Rivers, and Conrad Marca-Relli.[1] The Solomon home in the Hamptons had also become a sort of cultural gathering spot for many famous artist and writers.[5]

In 1970 Solomon with the help of architect Gene Leedy built his award winning home and studio on Siesta Key in Sarasota.[1] In 1975 the New York Cultural Center and the Ringling Museum held retrospective exhibitions of the artist's works.[1]

Around 1990, Solomon began to display symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.[1] After a long battle with the disease Solomon died on January 24, 2004 at 86 years old.[3]


After the 1950s Solomon's style became heavily influenced by nature.[4] His works illustrate his fascination with the climatic and overall environmental conditions of land, sea, and sky.[4] In the 1960s he started using polymer tempera as a base and would then combine it with various colored inks and oils.[4] Syd was also one of the premier artists to use acrylic paint.[2] He became a fan of a specific resist technique that used a lactic caseing solution to mask the painting.[4] His painting gestures usually consisted of circles, squares, and curves.[4] Solomon was not concerned with perfection in his art strokes as much as rough edges that left for unpredictability.[4] Although he used a range of colors in his paintings, the color black has always played a big part in his work.[6]


Throughout his life Solomon taught at many different institutions including the Pittsburgh Art Institute, the Ringling Museum of Art, the Famous Artists School, New College in Sarasota, and the Sarasota School of Art.[2] He was also a visiting instructor at University of Illinois in Urbana, Robertson Center for the Arts, and the Tampa Bay Art Center.[2]

He also received many awards in his lifetime including the State Department U.S. Cultural Exchange program to Israel and the Ford Foundation Special Purchase Grant for the Guggenheim Museum.[2] Also he received the Painting of the year from the Whitney as well as the 13th New England Annual.[1]


Museums Galleries Other
Clearwater Museum of Art Museum of Fine Arts Saint Petersburg, Florida Lowe Art Gallery Brevard College
Fifty Ninth Annual Exhibition at the National Collection of Fine Arts1956 Associated American Artists Galleries Paintings of the Circus at Sarasota Art Association
Whitney Museum of American Art Saidenberg Gallery Annual Exhibition at the American Water Color Society 1955
Ringling Museum of Art Trend House Gallery Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center


Adelphi University
Baltimore Museum of Art
Chrysler Art Museum
Guggenheim Museum
High Museum of Art
New Orleans Museum of Art
Wadsworth Museum
Whitney Museum of American Art
Witte Memorial Museum



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Syd Solomon". Syd Solomon. The Estate of Syd Solomon. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  2. ^ a b Associated Press. "Syd Solomon, artist fixture in Sarasota". Syd Solomon, artist fixture in Sarasota. St. Petersburg Times Online. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
  3. ^ a b "Abstract artist Syd Solomon dies". Abstract artist Syd Solomon dies. USA Today. 30 January 2004. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
  4. ^ "Rauschenberg Gallery features 'black' works of Syd Solomon". Rauschenberg Gallery features 'black' works of Syd Solomon. Fort Myers Florida Weekly. Retrieved 29 November 2011.