more about the artist


Accomplished, award-winning artist known for brilliant abstract paintings, murals and prints. Also, an experienced retail and fashion marketing executive recognized for spectacular international fashion prognostications and publications. Founder, The National Designers’ Group.

SELECTED BY STEPHEN WESTFALL, Visiting Critic, Art In America AS OUTSTANDING GRADUATE STUDENT, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ, 1986

“Ellen Sherman-Zinn is a gifted painter working in an Abstract Expressionist mode. For sheer painting skill, she has proved to be the most advanced student in this year’s graduate program. What has been especially pleasing is her restlessness, a desire to challenge the color combinations and compositionally uniting gestures that are already in her repertoire. This regenerative self-questioning is discernable in her recent work, where figural elements and landscape space are giving signs of reappearance.

Like many of the original AE painters, Ellen speaks of the blank canvas as a metaphysical arena, equating is with her life. For Ellen, painting is a way of keeping going. As obvious as that sounds, it strikes me as both a mature and a humble assessment on her part of what the act painting offers the painter. Ellen came to painting fairly late, after a career in fashion. Her fierce belief in the primacy of painting is that of a convert, not of one born into the faith. Her orthodoxy is rendered unorthodox by her intensity.”

Excerpted From Solo Show Brochure, New Art Center, 2010
By John Austin

The work of Ellen Sherman Zinn pulses with vitality through its suggestive interplay between control and spontaneity. The inventiveness of transcendence that plays itself out so readily in her art is particularized through the ambiguities of scale, which plays an important role in apprehending sensorially the given object and its gestural components. Artist’s brushstrokes, lines, and spaces create a system of signification through its obstinate conflating of the near and the far, the miniature and the gigantic, permeating artist’s work with a rare quality of poetic exaltation.

There is a flourish, tumultuousness in these large scale works. Seen from a distance artist’s swirls of paint are sensuously compelling and dynamic. Coming up close to the surface of her work, the viewer takes in the minutiae of imbricated picture planes and the detailed edges of her painterly strokes. The great sea-swelling of her vista-like textures assume serenely dream- like quality. It all looks so effortless: a sign of mastery. It is a truism I suppose to say that great painting is born out of ultimate freedom as well as by necessity and will yet the case of Ellen Sherman Zinn, her visual achievement is undeniable.

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  • Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ M.A., Painting, 1988
    • Graduated top of class
  • Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY B.F.A., Textile Design, 1966
  • International Center of Photography, NYC
  • Donald Stacy Studio, NYC
  • Parsons School of Design, NYC
  • Boston University, Boston, MA
  • Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ


  • Private Instructor


  • Bridgewater Poetry Group, Bridgewater, NJ
  • Contemporary Art Center, Bedminster, NJ
  • Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NY


  • Selected as Juror for the Watchung Arts Council Members Show, 2013
  • Artist grant to the Vermont Studio Center, Artist in residence program, Johnson, VT
  • Who’s Who in American Art, Print and Gallery
  • Recipient of the Kerygma Gallery for Best Contemporary Work, the CAA Mid Lantic Open Juried Show, Jury Of Awards: Frank Zuccarelli, PSA, Joel Popadics, 1994
  • Named one of NJ State’s “Most Accomplished Women,” NJW Magazine Collectors Issue; 1993-94
  • Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Montclair State University, 1988
  • Recipient of the Liquitex Fine Art Scholarship Awards: Jurors Bernard Chaet, Professor of Art, Yale University
  • Martin Prekop, Chairman of Undergraduate Division, Art Institute of Chicago, Barbara Rogers, Painting Department Chairperson, San Francisco Art Institute, 1987
  • Outstanding Graduate Student In Painting, Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ;
  • Selected by Stephen Westfall, Distinguished Visiting Professor and Art Critic, 1986, Art in America