Sam Gilliam - AMERICAN AFRICAN AMERICAN New York Friday, February 8, 2019 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Private Collection, Asia
    Baumgartner Galleries Inc., Washington, D.C.
    Private Collection
    Phillips, London, March 9, 2018, lot 192
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Born 1933, Tupelo, MS
    Lives and works in Washington, D.C.

    1955 BA, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
    1961 MFA, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY

    Selected honors: Archives of American Art Medal (2018); U.S. State Department Medal of Arts (2015); Mississippi Governor's Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts (2007); Workshop Activities Grant, National Endowment for the Arts (1973-1975); Solomon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (1971); Norman W. Harris Prize, Art Institute of Chicago (1969); and Individual Artist Grant, National Endowment for the Arts (1967)
    Selected museum exhibitions and performances: The Phillips Collection, Washington DC; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Speed Art Museum, Louisville; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, Lyon, France; 34th Biennial of Contemporary American Painting, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Museum of Modern Art, New York; XXXVI Venice Biennale, American Pavilion, Venice, Italy
    Selected public collections: The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Tate Modern, London; and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

    “At Age 84, ‘Living Legend’ Sam Gilliam Is Enjoying His Greatest Renaissance Yet” – so read the headline of a January 2, 2018 artnet article covering the all-time high of Sam Gilliam’s critical and market attention. More than 40 years years since Gilliam became the first African American artist to represent the United States at the Venice Bienniale in 1972, the abstract painter’s career has been catapulted to widespread acclaim. In 2016, a major new commission, Yet I Do Marvel, debuted in the lobby of the highly anticipated National Museum of African American History and Culture in his hometown of Washington, DC, and in 2017 he made his return to the Venice Biennale with his brilliantly colored, unstretched canvas Yves Klein Blue that welcomed visitors to the Giardini’s main pavilion. Most recently, his work has been included in Soul of A Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, the landmark exhibition organized by the Tate Modern, London, that will travel to the Broad Museum in Los Angeles after closing at the Brooklyn Museum in February 2019.

    Gilliam’s innovations from the late 1960s and early 1970s cemented his reputation as one of the most preeminent artists associated with the Washington Color School. Characteristically pushing his medium to its very limits, Gilliam experimented with color, process and materiality like earlier Color Field artists Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland, but took a radically different path in his dismantling of the canvas stretcher. He first rose to fame in the late 1960s with his drape paintings, which came out of his experiments with unsupported canvases – works he said were partly inspired by watching women hang laundry on clotheslines from his studio window in Washington, DC. In 1967, he began creating his slices, or bevelled-edge paintings, which saw him pour paint onto unstretched and unprimed canvases and then fold and crumple the fabric before stretching it on a frame. Since then, he has produced considerable bodies of work, ranging from geometric collage, etchings, watercolors, and quilted paintings to more recent forays into computer generated images and assemblage.


All Colors Stacks

signed, titled and dated ""All Colors Stacks" Sam Gilliam, '96" on the reverse
polypropylene and acrylic on wood with aluminum fasteners
56 7/8 x 31 3/4 x 5 7/8 in. (144.4 x 80.5 x 15 cm.)
Executed in 1996.

Estimate On Request


New York Selling Exhibition 10 January - 8 February 2019