Tyler Professor Emeritus Stanley Whitney was recently named the first recipient of the $25,000 Robert De Niro, Sr. Prize, given to an outstanding mid-career American painter. Mr. Whitney served as chair of the painting department until he retired in 2009. He also taught several semesters at the Temple Rome campus. He earned his BFA at the Kansas City Art Institute and came to New York in 1968 to attend the Studio School. He was encouraged by painter Rob Reid to attend Yale University, where he earned his MFA and studied under painter Al Held. An abstract Modernist painter, he was also awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1996, a Pollock-Krasner Grant in 2002, and an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2010. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums across The U.S. as well as internationally.
“Stanley’s work and the way he practices his craft both show what this prize is all about—honoring a person with great passion for and lifelong commitment to art,” said the namesake artist’s son, actor/producer Robert De Niro. “I am so proud to pay tribute to my father through this inaugural prize in his name, and to recognize and support an artist who has achieved so much throughout his career.” The jury added: “For the recipient of the first Robert De Niro Sr. Prize, we have selected a painter who represents the spirit of commitment, independence, and invention that marked De Niro’s own work as an artist. 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. For many years he has worked with a consistent set of structuring devices but has used them as a basis for more than just variations on a theme, for the true structural basis of Whitney’s art is color, not shape, and he rediscovers it anew each time.”
You can read more about the prize and Robert De Niro, Sr. at the estate’s website.