A Short Biography
Born in New York, Sam Amato became a key painter in the Southern California (Los Angeles) figurative school of painting of the 1960’s and ’70’s, best known for his diverse subject matters and diverse painting styles, and for his masterful command of color. “A colorist par excellence, Amato confronts each canvas as a different problem…of making color behave and of using it to define form.” (Arthur Secunda, Santa Barbara News Press)
Amato began his art studies as an undergraduate at the Pratt Institute of Art in 1941. After taking a sabbatical from his schooling for four years to serve in the Navy as an Instructor in 3-Dimentional Terrain Construction and Modeling, he returned to his art education at the New York School of Social Studies. Amato graduated from The Pratt Institute of Art in 1952 (Cum Laude). His first teaching experience was with The Pratt Institute of Art in 1948 and then, over the next four years, he taught at the Newark Academy of Arts and Albright Art School. In 1952, Amato moved his family to California where he would start what would be one of the most important components to his legacy as an artist, as a professor with the University of California, Los Angeles for nearly four decades.
Amato retired from his University teachings in 1991, but continued teaching painting and drawing privately.
Amato’s first solo show in 1957 at Frank Perls Gallery was the beginning of a highly respected career as a California Artist. “With this effervescent exhibition, Amato places himself in the top drawer of Southern California painters.” (Jules Langsner, Los Angeles Times). Always exploring and questioning various themes in his art, Amato would draw on his interpretation of nature, religion, and philosophy to paint a myriad of subjects including gardens, African landscapes, heroic figuration, and symbolic tableaus based on myths and religious amongst others. And with each new subject matter, Amato would experiment with a new painting style to accurately reflect his vision of the subject at hand. “Romantic, realistic and mystical. These are I believe, important pictures by a finally important painter.” (William Wilson, Los Angeles Times).
Amato’s solo shows include Frank Perls Gallery, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and Ceejee Galleries. His group shows include, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Pasadena Art Museum, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and the Los Angeles Contemporary Art Museum.