“Sax Player” is the latest work of art by Brooklyn-born artist Burt Sulzer. After a career in the legal field, Sulzer has devoted his time to his unique artwork.
And on Tuesday, June 19, Sulzer had his painting displayed in the Salmagundi, one of America’s most venerated art clubs, as part of the Gramercy Neighborhood Associates Art Show.
The Greenwich Village-based arts fraternity was founded in 1871 and is one of the oldest art organizations in the United States. Its members have included renowned artists such as Thomas Moran, John Clymer, William Merritt Chase, N.C. Wyeth and Norman Rockwell.
The Salmagundi Club owns a collection of over 1,500 works of art spanning its 140-year history, and has a membership of nearly 850 artists and patrons.
American composer John Philip Sousa was an honorary member and Winston Churchill, an amateur painter, was also made an honorary member of the club in 1958.
So for Sulzer, having his work on view at such a prestigious gallery was very special indeed.
“I recently became involved in drawing and painting as a means of dealing with an unfortunate incident in my life,” Sulzer said. “Painting is very palliative.”
Sulzer was born and raised in East Flatbush, attended Midwood High School and received a degree in court reporting. He worked in the U.S. Federal court system for 46 years before retiring. And that’s when he began his art career.
Classic painters that have inspired his work include Picasso, Modigliani and Monet, along with more recent artists such as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Sulzer said that it usually takes him anywhere from three to six hours to complete a piece.
Sulzer’s “Sax Player” is a soft charcoal painting inspired by a black and white picture of jazz great Dexter Gordon. “My fun with it was drawing it and creating my own colors,” Sulzer said. “I love jazz and in particular sax and clarinet music.”
Although he now lives in Manhattan with his wife Barbara, he credits his years living in Bay Ridge and other parts of Brooklyn as an integral part of his art.
“As most kids of my generation, we were influenced by comic books and National Geographic magazine,” Sulzer said. “They greatly influenced my style and coloration. And growing up in Brooklyn, the sights and sounds I was exposed to enhanced my creativity.”