Wyman Contemporary

Contemporary American and European photography, paintings, drawings, prints, and ceramics.



Sylvia Schuster’s prolific and brilliant career spans more than six decades of artmaking, beginning at a young age in her hometown of Philadelphia, later in New York City and more recently in the American Midwest.

A scholarship student at both the Rhode Island School of Design and the Cranbrook Academy of Art, two of America’s most prestigious colleges of art, she received a BFA and MFA degree respectively. Her innovative work and protean skills, along with her recognition as a master printmaker, have earned her many fellowships, awards and residencies in numerous museums, colleges, and universities, and an equal number of exhibitions.

Not unlike her revolutionary predecessors in Paris at the turn of the 20th century, whose early excitement and interest in African tribal art helped to stimulate the world-wide modernist movement, African imagery has dominated Schuster’s artistic vision throughout her long career and was ignited when, in the early 1960s, she first encountered collections of African tribal art in New York’s Brooklyn and Metropolitan Museums. The power of these works inspired her to seek out African American models and to make countless drawings and collages based upon the beauty and energy she saw in their faces and bodies.

Beginning in her mid ‘20s, with a spectacular group of giant heads, rendered in charcoal, multi-media and collage and often close to six feet in height, they have become a symbolic spearhead of her long and productive career. Over the years these early works have been widely collected and exhibited, and their themes continue to animate Schuster’s art – a vision that has continued on a smaller scale through many works on paper that also include her stunning oeuvre as a master printmaker.

Schuster’s work speaks for itself, as does her extraordinary curriculum vitae [Messineo Wyman].

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and with an early career in New York City, Schuster divides her time between the East Coast and Iowa City. She does printmaking and drawing in Iowa, painting and sculpture in New York. Her work is influenced by African tribal art and by large images like the Stonehenge megaliths, totem poles of the Northwest and Easter Island stone sculptures. She describes her work as “bold and straightforward.”


  • The Common Woman, The Iowa City Woman’s Press, Iowa City, IA, Winter, 1973. Cover, Three Etchings
  • The Spirit That Moves Us, The Spirit That Moves Us Press, Iowa City, IA, Fall/Winter 1978/79. Cover
  • The Painted Bride, The Painted Bride Quarterly, Philadelphia, PA, Vol. 6, nos. 1 & 2, 1979. Six Drawings
  • Art for the Nursing Building, University of Iowa Catalogue, Iowa City, IA, 1983. Three Etchings
  • Washington Spaces Magazine, Winter, 2007.
  • Houston Lifestyles and Homes Magazine, July, 2010
  • Houston-Paper City Magazine, July, 2010.

Selected Collections

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC; Pappajohn Business Building, Iowa City, IA; Nursing Building, Iowa City, IA; University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art, IA; The University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, WI; Tweed Museum of Art, Duluth, MN; West Bank, Iowa City, IA; Ken Anderson, Chicago CEO Anderson Pacific; Rick Pollack, Washington, DC; Don Shepard, CEO Aegon, Maryland, Houston, Holland; Bruce Spivey, Former CEO of Columbia Cornell HealthCare and Northwestern HealthCare, San Francisco, CA; Monmouth University, Monmouth, NJ; Butch Roberts, CEO Verizon, Maryland; Jeff Braverman, CEO Hawkeye Wholesale, Iowa City, IA; Jim Shillito, Beverly Hills, CA; Olga Hirshhorn, Washington, DC, Bob Heggestad, Troutman Pepper, Washington, DC; Keith Cole, Government Relations, General Motors, Washington, DC; James Rosen, Fox News, Staten Island, NY; Jack Gerstein, Clyde & Co. US, Washington, DC; Ruth Carver, Aspen, CO; Darryl Carter, Daryl Carter Inc.; Mary Howell, Chairman V2X, Susi Larsen and Eric Jon Larsen, Managing Partner, The Advisory Board Co.; James Gale, Overseas Private Investment Corporation; Lisa Barry, LLB & Associates, former V.P. Chevron;  Eric Von Graffenried, Chocolat Ammann, Bern, Switzerland; Martin Carver, Former CEO of Bandag Tires, Muscatine, IA; Roy Carver II, Roy Carver III, Julia Thorne, Muscatine, IA; Tom van Deest, Cedar Rapids, IA; Wayne Wood, Coralville, IA; Joe Lotus, Chicago; Mike Lotus, Washington, DC; Pete Thompson, Thompson, Loss & Judge, Washington, DC; Rudolfo Llinas, Sutton Place, NYC; Dick Schwartzchild, East Hampton, NY; Bill Dunlap, McLean, VA; Marty Brandel, Long Island, NY; Blair Gordon, River Oaks, Texas; Kim and Mary Kokles, Dallas Texas;  Mathew Wagner, Cedar Rapids, IA.

Image Captions

  1. Colossal Head frontal facing right
  2. Colossal Head leaning back
  3. Colossal Head facing left
  4. Colossal Head leaning back facing left
  5. Colossal Head looking back facing right
  6. Colossal Head looking straight
  7. Colossal Head looking back
  8. Colossal Head looking back facing left
Charcoal Drawings, 4 1:2 x 5 feet