Stanley Boxer was an American artist best known for thickly painted abstract works of art. He was also an accomplished sculptor and printmaker. Endlessly innovative and with a profound sensitivity to texture, Boxer was born in 1926 in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Boxer was a prolific artist—more a “practitioner” of art by his own admission—across a number of different media, including painting, printmaking, drawing, and sculpture.
Boxer began his formal education after World War II, when he left the Navy and studied at the Art Students League of New York. He drew, painted, made prints, and sculpted. He was uncompromising in his pursuit of the process of painting, spending seven days a week in his studio.
His work attracted the attention of art critic Clement Greenberg who categorized Boxer as one of the ‘color-field’ painters. But Boxer, ever the independent, was adamant in rejecting this label, calling himself “visionless”—meaning he allowed his past art to shape his work but would by no means attempt to shift what that art should look like in the future. Art critic Grace Glueck wrote "Never part of a movement or trend, though obviously steeped in the language of Modernism, the abstract painter Stanley Boxer was a superb manipulator of surfaces, intensely bonding texture and color."
Stanley Boxer’s paintings are abstract compositions notable for their texture and color, in which small gestures are multiplied to form a single entity—almost as if observing cells under a microscope where individual units coalesce into a whole. His often perplexing titles obscure any immediate understanding of the works. A deep love of language, particularly German, encouraged his playful use of words, combining suggestive nouns and adjectives in much the same way as his approach to painting merged color and form. If there is to be any single, identifiable subject to Boxer’s decidedly abstract works, it is this coming-together of disparate colors, textures, and moods.
For more than 40 years, Boxer stood at the top rank of American Contemporary Artists. He has an international reputation and his art continues to be shown widely. In 1953, Boxer had his first solo exhibition of paintings in New York City, and showed regularly thereafter until his death. His work is included in the permanent collections of many museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Hirshorn Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and many others. He is a recipient of the Guggenheim and the NEA Awards and was a member of the National Academy of Design.
He was a prolific artist and produced much work during his lifetime. Boxer died May 8, 2000 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He was 73 years old. According to Boxer's wife of 49 years, the artist Joyce Weinstein, Boxer created more than 7,000 drawings, paintings, and sculptures, about 700 of which were part of his estate at the time of his death.
Guggenheim Fellowship, 1975
National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artists Fellowship Grant, 1989
Elected to National Academy of Design, 1992
Elected Full Member, National Academy of Design, 1993
Selected for annual Print Club of New York Print Commission, aquatint etching, 1997
Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York
André Emmerich Gallery, New York
Rose Art Museum
Butler Institute of American Art
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Hirshorn Museum, Washington
Metropolitan Museum of Art
McDonald's Corporation, Woodland Hills
Missouri William Jewell College, Liberty
New Jersey New Jersey State Museum, Trenton
The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University
Business Comm. for the Arts, New York
Chase Manhattan Bank, New York
IBM Corporation, New York
Ohio Corning Glass Corporation
Pennsylvania TSO Financial Corporation, Willow Grove
Inexco Corporation, Houston