Kermit Oliver
Kermit Oliver

Kermit Oliver’s masterfully executed paintings and drawings have earned him worldwide recognition as one of the nation’s finest contemporary American artists. His nature and myth-inspired portraits and landscapes are rooted in his life as a native Texan. The paintings blend contemporary and classical elements inspired by Oliver’s rural Texas heritage and his study of mythology, religion, and history.

Born in 1943 in Refugio, Texas, the son and grandson of working cowboys, Oliver studied art at Texas Southern University and graduated in 1967 with BFA and teaching degrees. He lived, painted, and occasionally taught in Houston until 1984, when he moved to Waco, Texas with his wife Katie, also a painter, and their children. In the tradition of many prolific African American artists, Oliver sorted mail on the night shift at the Waco post office and painted by day. For more than 40 years he has earned public recognition while carefully guarding his privacy.

A student of Greek and Roman mythology as well as the Old and New Testaments, Kermit Oliver derives symbols from these texts that he presents in a contemporary and highly personal way. His works have a sense of spirit and mystery that reflect his unique and intensely personal vision.

Oliver was the first African American artist in Houston to be represented by a major gallery, the Hooks Epstein Galleries Inc. For nearly a quarter century, he has accepted commissions from Hermes to create designs for its renowned scarf designs. He is the only American artist to design scarves for the iconic Parisian atelier.
Last Updated: 1/17/13