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Sam Gilliam Art

American, 1933-2022

Postwar American artist Sam Gilliam was an innovative Color Field painter and lyrical abstractionist perhaps best known for working directly on draped, unprimed canvases freed from their stretcher bars in as early as the mid-1960s.

Born in Tupelo, Mississippi, and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Gilliam studied art at the University of Louisville, earning both undergraduate and graduate degrees in fine art. He moved to Washington, D.C., in 1962, where he became associated with the Washington Color School. Inspired by the vibrant hues of German Expressionism, Gilliam pushed the limits of his medium by eliminating the use of easels and stretchers. Instead, he painted on draped canvases suspended from the walls and the ceiling of his studio.

Overlooked at first, the resulting works, radiant and rippling with energy, would become universally recognized as a hallmark of Gilliam’s oeuvre. Later in his career, he would draw inspiration from jazz and textile artistry, creating improvisational collage-style “quilted” paintings on nylon or canvas that recall quilt patterns.

In 1972, Gilliam became the first Black artist to represent the United States at the Venice Biennale; he also exhibited at the 2017 Venice Biennale. His works can be found in more than 50 public collections around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Corcoran Gallery of Art (now the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design) in Washington, D.C., the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Paris Museum of Modern Art, among many others. Gilliam’s awards include the United States State Department Medal of Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and more.

Find original Sam Gilliam prints and other art on 1stDibs.

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Artist: Sam Gilliam
Untitled, Ex-Museum of Modern Art Collection
By Sam Gilliam
Located in New York, NY
Sam Gilliam Untitled, Ex-Museum of Modern Art Collection, 1968 Watercolor and Aluminum Paint on Fiberglass Paper. (Framed with Museum of Modern Art Collection Label Verso and Exhibit...
Category

1960s Abstract Expressionist Sam Gilliam Art

Materials

Fiberglass, Paint, Watercolor

Buoy Landscape IV
By Sam Gilliam
Located in New York, NY
Sam Gilliam Buoy Landscape IV, 1982 Color relief print, etching, screenprint, drypoint, aquatint and roulette all from deeply etched copper plates, on handmade wove paper 31 1/2 × 24...
Category

1980s Abstract Expressionist Sam Gilliam Art

Materials

Mixed Media, Drypoint, Etching, Aquatint, Screen

Untitled
By Sam Gilliam
Located in München, DE
signed, dated and inscribed lower right "Sam Gilliam '71 - 7/16" This is a unique piece from a series of 16.
Category

20th Century Sam Gilliam Art

Materials

Watercolor

RECITALS Signed Mixed Media Print, Abstract Collage, Rainbow Colors, Spirals
By Sam Gilliam
Located in Union City, NJ
RECITALS is mixed media limited edition print by the renowned African American artist Sam Gilliam, created using Archival Inkjet, Relief, and Stencil techniques. This vertical, rainb...
Category

Early 2000s Contemporary Sam Gilliam Art

Materials

Mixed Media

Purple Antelope Space Squeeze
By Sam Gilliam
Located in New York, NY
A very good impression of this relief, etching, aquatint and collagraph on hand-made paper with embossing, hand-painting and hand-painted collage. Signed and dated in pencil by Gilli...
Category

1980s Modern Sam Gilliam Art

Materials

Paint, Handmade Paper, Etching, Aquatint

Untitled
By Sam Gilliam
Located in New York, NY
A very good impression of this screenprint on hand made, hand dyed paper. Signed, dated and numbered 7 in pencil by Gilliam.
Category

1970s Modern Sam Gilliam Art

Materials

Dye, Handmade Paper, Color, Screen

"Chakaia" Contemporary Abstract Mixed Media Canvas Assemblage Painting
By Sam Gilliam
Located in Houston, TX
Contemporary abstract canvas assemblage painting by American artist Sam Gilliam. The work features a central arrangement of crumpled canvas set against a pink and purple background. ...
Category

Early 2000s Contemporary Sam Gilliam Art

Materials

Mixed Media

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Sam Gilliam art for sale on 1stDibs

1stDibs offers a wide variety of authentic Sam Gilliam art for sale. You can also browse through art by Sam Gilliam in mixed media, screen print and more by medium. Much of this artist's original work was created during the 21st Century and Contemporary, and is mostly associated with the Abstract style. Not every interior allows for large Sam Gilliam art, so small editions measuring 19 inches across are available. Customers interested in this artist might also find the work of Raymond Parker, Joan Mitchell and Richard Diebenkorn. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $2,895 and tops out at $285,000, while the average work can sell for $16,000.

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Questions About Sam Gilliam Art
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    American artist Sam Gilliam is best known for his contributions to the Washington Color School movement through his famed ‘drape paintings’. He is credited as being the first artist to engage with idea of a draped, painted canvas without stretcher bars during the 1960s. On 1stDibs, shop a collection of expertly-vetted Sam Gilliam pieces from some of the world’s top art dealers.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    African-American artist Sam Gilliam is considered a color field painter and a lyrical abstractionist. He is most well-known for his large works in the late 1960s and early 1970s, which featured painted canvases draped from walls and ceilings. On 1stDibs, find a variety of original artwork from top artists.

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