Born on January 8, 1929 in Antwerp, Belgium, Arthur Silberman came to the United States in 1941 and settled with his parents in New York City. He earned a B.A. in Hebrew Letters from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York and in 1949 earned a Bachelor of Science degree in History and Economics from the College of the City of New York. In 1949 he founded Silberman Oil in Oklahoma and became an independent oil operator. This endeavor was supplanted by A & M Silberman Oil in 1955 with his brother, Marcel J. Silberman. Except for two years (1953-1955) of military service, he was resident of Oklahoma City until his death. On April 10, 1960 he married Shifra Alpha Kahn and had two children, Ami Abraham and Gil Gabriel. Shifra held a B.A. from the University of Chicago and an M.A. in guidance and counseling from the University of Oklahoma. Silberman developed an interest in and a sense of mission regarding Native American art. In 1968 he began curating exhibits and writing about this subject. In 1975 the Silbermans founded the Native American Painting Reference Library. Arthur was its director, while Shifra served as research consultant and assistant on all Library projects. Silberman saw the goals of the Library as increasing the appreciation of Native American painting by making reference material available to educators, writers, publishers, and museums; and increasing public awareness through lectures, publications, and exhibits. In 1985 he published "100 Years of Native American Painting and between 1993 and 1994 was the project director and curator of the touring exhibit, "Beyond the Prison Gate, The Fort Marion Experience and its Artistic Legacy" under the sponsorship of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. Shifra died on July 29, 1990. When asked if there was a connection between his own Jewish identity and his work with American Indian art, Silberman answered, "Yes, I think so. Being Jewish, I can certainly appreciate another minority that has been persecuted, but has somehow managed to cope, to survive and to flourish." He died in the morning of January 6, 1995.
From the description of Arthur & Shifra Silberman Native American art collection, 1864-1995. (National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum). WorldCat record id: 58795196