Sam Gilliam

American, b. 1933

 

Glymph #1  , Mixed media on cast paper, 1975, 20 3/4 inch diameter

Glymph #1, Mixed media on cast paper, 1975, 20 3/4 inch diameter

Sam Gilliam, born in Mississippi in 1993 was an African American painter whose style dramatically changed throughout his career. Starting as colorfield painter, Gilliam's influence was drawn my artists such as  Pablo Picasso, Frank Stella, Hans Hoffman, amongst others. He became the first painter to introduce the idea of the unsupported canvas.

In the midst of his career his style was inspired by musicians such as Mile Davis. He started producing collages he called the “Black Paintings,”because painted in shades of black expressing dynamic geometry. In the 1980’s he transitioned his style to quilted paintings reminiscent of African patchwork quilts.  Throughout his career he received many awards, exhibitions, grants and honorary doctorates.   A major retrospective of his work was held at the Corcoran Gallery of Art.