Sam Gilliam - Editions & Works on Paper New York Tuesday, October 19, 2021 | Phillips

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  • ". . . what was most personal to me were the things I saw in my own environment—such as clotheslines filled with clothes with so much weight that they had to be propped up . . . That was a pertinent clue." —Sam Gilliam in conversation with Donald Miller, ARTnews January 1973

    Sam Gilliam’s innovative works of the late '60s and early '70s, which helped push painting into an expanded field, are now legendary, canonical, and well known. These stretcherless, intentionally draped, color-soaked canvases with their folds and myriad of allusions presented a new way to experience the space of painting. With them, he subverts our expectations of where this medium should sit. The same might be said of his equally experimental, yet arguably lesser-known printmaking oeuvre.


    By 1974, when Gilliam collaged and screenprinted Tee-2 with the late Bill Weege (founder of Tandem Press) at the Jones Road Print Shop and Stable in Barnesveld, Wisconsin, he was no stranger to constructing in fabric. Fabric and clothing gave Gilliam’s work moments of thick and thin viscous pigment, paper, wrinkles, experimentation, and innovation. Similar to Tee 2, Composed (formerly Dark as I Am) (1968-74), which began as an installation later transformed into an assemblage, made use of the artist’s clothes, and included a T-shirt. The final expression of Composed was completed the same year Tee 2 was conceived. The use of the shirt is inherently personal through its material relation to the body. The shirt rests open-armed with sleeves extending past the confines of the sheet’s edges, a welcoming gesture.


    In Tee 2, the T-shirt sits in relief upon the Arches support quite literally elevating what is usually a flat printing surface. The material with its wrinkles, softness, and instability leaves open the possibility for unique variations from print to print within the edition, although we cannot be certain as this is currently the only known example from the edition of 10. The halo of sparse ink around the outline of the shirt reveals the limits of the screen's ability to register the inks flat. Although the technical process of screenprinting places the work in the realm of printmaking, the palette of warm splatters and overall composition nudges us towards a painterly conversation. Once again Gilliam has defied the limits of a medium. Welcome. To the prints of Sam Gilliam.


    Composed (formerly Dark As I Am), 1968-74, acrylic, clothing, backpack, painter’s tools, wooden closet pole, all on wood door. Collection of the artist’s daughters. Photo: Marc Gulezian/QuickSilver.
    • Literature

      David Acton 25


Tee 2 (A. 25)

Screenprint in colors and collage of T-shirt, Arches Cover paper, the full sheet.
S. 33 5/8 x 26 1/4 in. (85.4 x 66.7 cm)
Signed, titled, dated and numbered 1/10 in pencil (there was also 1 artist's proof), published by Jones Road Print Shop and Stable, Barneveld, Wisconsin, framed.

Full Cataloguing

$10,000 - 15,000 

Sold for $13,860

Contact Specialist

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212 940 1220


Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 19-21 October 2021