Sam Gilliam - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Tuesday, November 10, 2015 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private Collection, Washington, DC
    Acquired directly from the artist as a gift by the above

  • Catalogue Essay

    "For the first time I felt like an artist ought to feel. Not only did I create an image, but my personality took hold. It became very important to become known as one of the youngest members of the Washington Color Field school." - Sam Gilliam, 1985

    Sam Gilliam arrived in Washington D.C. in 1961 and quickly became associated with the Color Field painters whose work was characterized by examining the interrelation of colors. Kenneth Noland, Morris Louis, Thomas Downing, and Paul Reed, among others, strove to present color in a way that freed it of subjective representation though the use of simple forms such as stripes, chevrons, and circles. By the mid-1960s Gilliam and other artists within the movement turned away from using this geometry, striving to further remove the artist's gesture from the work entirely. They began experimenting with new methods that allowed color to become part of a painting’s surface by applying paint with spray guns, rollers, sponges, or simply staining the fabric itself.

    Screen is emblematic as an important transitional piece within the artist's œuvre, as it is one of the first where Gilliam abandons geometric form. Here, colors are free to soak into the canvas and bleed into one another, creating delicate greys and browns, suggesting the relationship between pigment and earth. The year in which this work was created would prove to be pivotal in the artist’s career, marking his entrance into the Phillips Collection and his first show in New York City.



acrylic on canvas
46 1/8 x 35 1/8 in. (117.2 x 89.2 cm)
Signed, titled and dated "Sam Gilliam, Jr. Screen 1967" along the overlap.

$18,000 - 24,000 

Sold for $81,250

Contact Specialist
John McCord
Head Day Sale
New York
+1 212 940 1261

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

New York Auction 10 November 2015 11am