Donald Alter Biography

Date of Birth:  20 October 1930

Place of Birth:  Bronx, New York

Profession:  Artist and Textile Designer

Education:  Black Mountain College 1948-1950; Summer Sessions 1950 and 1951


Donald Alter heard about Black Mountain College at the High School of Music and Art in New York where he was a student. A first generation American, Don had grown up in the Bronx, where his Polish immigrant father, Sol Alter, was a bread baker.

At Black Mountain, Don took a general curriculum with an emphasis in the arts. He studied Drawing, Painting, and Color with Josef Albers, and studied Textile Design with Anni Albers and Trude Guermonprez. Don later studied Drawing and Painting with Joseph Fiore, and studied Design with Warren "Pete" Jennerjahn. Don was also active in the Light Sound Movement Workshop taught by Betty and Pete Jennerjahn. On the Black Mountain farm, Don fed the cows and drove the "half-ton military truck."

Don left Black Mountain after the 1951 Summer Session and was drafted into the Army. He was trained as an artillery forward observer but was later assigned as an artist to design training aids.

When Don was released from the Army, he enrolled in Pratt Institute in New York to continue his studies in Textile Design. In 1955, he and two other designers opened a studio, New Line Designers. Don later formed his own textile design business, Design Logic. His designs were prepared for use as home furnishing textile fabrics and wall papers, as well as for other products in the home furnishing industry.  These products had an international distribution which Don found to be both exciting and challenging.

After the death of his first wife, Claire Rosensweig Alter, Don and his second wife, Alice Himmel Alter, reared their three children - one each from previous marriages and one together. Since his retirement in 1990, Don has concentrated on his paintings.

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