Sam Gilliam | Abstract Visual Artist

(November 30, 1933 – June 25, 2022)

β€œIt’s fun to fail. You learn something: how not to fail.”

Artist Sam Gilliam

Sam Gilliam, an African American color field painter and lyrical abstractionist artist, passed away on June 25, 2022 at the age of 88. He worked on stretched, draped and wrapped canvas, and added sculptural 3D elements. He was recognized as the first artist to introduce the idea of a draped, painted canvas hanging without stretcher bars around 1965. Gilliam was associated with the Washington Color School, a group located in Washington, D.C. area where artists developed a form of abstract art from color field painting in the 1950s and 1960s. His works have also been described as belonging to abstract expressionism and lyrical abstraction. This was a major contribution to the Color Field School and has had a lasting impact on contemporary art today. His later works are textured paintings that incorporate metal forms.

Gilliam was born in Tupelo, Mississippi in 1933, attended the University of Louisville, and moved to Washington, D.C in 1962 where he lived and worked out of his studio for the remainder on his life.

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