Alvin Sella was a seminal figure and touchstone of the Alabama arts community. His paintings resonate with life and longevity, especially within the resurgent currents of Minimalism and Abstract Expressionism in the art world today.
Sella retired from UA’s Department of Art and Art History in 1996 after a distinguished 35-year career. He continued to teach, by popular demand, until 2010. Known by many as a consummate educator and accomplished artist, Sella influenced thousands of students during his life.
Born in West Hoboken, New Jersey, Sella studied at the Yale School of Fine Arts, Art Students League of New York, Columbia University School of Arts, Syracuse University College of Fine Arts and at the University of New Mexico. From 1944 to 1947, he studied independently and painted in San Miquel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico, and in 1946, his work was shown in a solo exhibition at the Museo del Placio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. In 1948, he accepted the position of Artist-In-Residence at Sullins College in Bristol, Va., and then later served as the Head of the Department of Art. He joined the UA faculty in 1960, where he taught painting and drawing. In 1999, The University of Alabama Society for the Fine Arts awarded Sella its Distinguished Arts Career Award and in 2009, the Alabama State Council on the Arts awarded him the Governor’s Arts Award.
Sella had numerous solo exhibitions throughout his career. His work appeared in the Contemporary Art Gallery in New York City, Collectors of American Art in New York City, the Carroll Knight Gallery in St. Louis, Mo. and in over 20 other galleries. He participated in over 200 group shows and his work is held in over 20 private and corporate collections.