Stanley Whitney

Stanley Whitney was born in 1946 in Philadelphia, USA. His blocks of high-key colours have made Whitney America’s greatest Black abstract artist.

Sometimes it takes fifty years of work to become an overnight success.

Stanley Whitney was born in Philadelphia in 1946. Like many artists of that era, he moved to New York in the 60s. He struggled finding his place as an abstract painter. The artworld only had room for representational work by Black artists.

Disenchanted, he moved to Rome in the 90s and this reinvigorated his painting style.

Bootylicious, 2007

Untitled, 2014

Rome, I would say, was the beginning of my mature period. Especially the ancient Rome, the ancient buildings, the scale of that and how human they were.

Colour grids became his signature. Like the jazz he grew up loving, he finds freedom within the constraints – riffing with the canvas as he moves from block to block.

At 77, Stanley’s work is finally getting the recognition it deserves

Success came late, but the stars line up when they line up – and if it happens when you’re alive, you’re lucky.

Untitled (Always Running from the Police 2020), 2020

Untitled (No to Prison Life), 2020



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