Many of Donald Sultan’s works consist of organic subjects — flowers, lemons, eggs — from his desire to infuse the world of modern art with a sense of the traditional. He finds inspiration in objects of the daily life, transforming them in art. For his Lantern Flowers pattern, Donald Sultan found inspiration in Chinese lanterns founded in his garden - I had been doing flowers that I had deemed to be artificial and I had made them up to be symbolic of the red poppies from the Veterans Day paper poppies worn on the lapels by people to commemorate World War I,the Field of Flanders. They also symbolized a play on the word ‘Pop’. I decided since I had lanterns hanging in my garden that I would do a painting of the lanterns hanging on branches. After putting them on and using the various colors of the lanterns I decided to lift the flowers off of the lanterns. They were lifted because they were, to my mind, totally made up, that they didn't exist in nature and they were really symbolic.
Born in 1951 in Asheville, North Carolina, Donald Sultan received his BFA from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and his MFA from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. He moved to New York in 1975. The work of Donald Sultan is voluminous and varied. Since his first one-man show in 1977, he has enjoyed a distinguished career as painter, printmaker, and sculptor. His extensive body of work has placed him at the forefront of contemporary art, where he has become best known for his ability to successfully merge the best of yesterday’s artistic tradition with a fresh, unique approach to imagery and materials.