Henry Taylor Wins 2018 Robert De Niro, Sr. Prize

The Los Angeles–based artist Henry Taylor, known for his empathetic portraits of friends, fellow artists, historical figures, and even psychiatric patients, has been named the winner of the 2018 Robert De Niro Sr. Prize for his outstanding achievements in painting. He will receive $25,000.

This year’s jury comprised Sarah Douglas, the editor in chief of Artnews; Courtney Martin, the deputy director and chief curator of the Dia Art Foundation; and Susan Thompson, an associate curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

“In what feels like a condensed number of years, Henry Taylor has delivered a body of engaging narrative, figural painting,” Martin said. “Though the stories attached to the works are often deeply personal, the canvas reveals layers of meanings both universal and formal. He is masterful with color and with compositional arrangements that prick the senses. Taylor’s paintings are a full-on experience.”

Born in Ventura, California, in 1958, Taylor earned his BFA at the California Institute of the Arts. His recent projects and solo exhibitions include the floaters, 2017, a site-specific, self-portrait that was commissioned by High Line Art and painted on the side of a building on West Twenty-Second Street in Manhattan; “This Side, That Side” (2016), presented by the Mistake Room in Guadalajara, Mexico; “They Shot My Dad, They Shot My Dad!” (2015) at Artspace in San Antonio, Texas; and a 2012 retrospective at MoMA PS1 in New York.

Taylor’s work has also been featured in a number of major group exhibitions, including last year’s Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In a review for the May 2017 issue of Artforum Tobi Haslett described the gallery displaying Taylor’s work alongside photographs by African American artist Deana Lawson as “the show’s apex.” He wrote: “Lawson’s photographs and Taylor’s acrylic paintings launch a pincer attack on the problem of how black life might be captured in two dimensions.”

Established by Robert De Niro in honor of his late father—an American artist whose expressionist and abstract works can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden—the award is administered by the Tribeca Film Institute, which was cofounded by De Niro. Previous winners of the prize include Stanley Whitney, Joyce Pensato, Catherine Murphy, Robert BordoLaura Owens, and R.H. Quaytman.