Sam Gilliam, ‘Untitled Painting, Ex- Museum of Modern Art Collection, with MOMA Label (also exhibited at the American Embassy, Moscow)’, 1968, Alpha 137 Gallery
Sam Gilliam, ‘Untitled Painting, Ex- Museum of Modern Art Collection, with MOMA Label (also exhibited at the American Embassy, Moscow)’, 1968, Alpha 137 Gallery
Sam Gilliam, ‘Untitled Painting, Ex- Museum of Modern Art Collection, with MOMA Label (also exhibited at the American Embassy, Moscow)’, 1968, Alpha 137 Gallery

Terrific watercolor and aluminum paint on fiberglass paper painting from the late 1960. Signed 'Sam Gilliam' lower right, with label from The Museum of Modern Art, NY. , including the museum collection number. This work was also featured in the exhibition "American Contemporary Art" at the American Embassy in Moscow, curated by Margaret Patter, Associate Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art. Accompanying this work is an undated xerox copy of the exhibition brochure, in both English and Russian. The curator describes this important Untitled Gilliam work from MOMA's Collection: "One of the consistent themes of Abstract Expressionism was the dual nature of a painting; its existence as symbolic expression and as a physical object made of flat canvas and fluid paint. In granting a dominant role to the artist's intuition, the Abstract Expressionists made a virtue of the accidental splashes and drips of paint which resulted from spontaneous use of paint and accepted these as integral elements of the total expression. Subsequently, a number of painters and sculptors have pursued further one aspect of this duality by concentrating on the physical attributes of their media. Rejecting a preconceived image or one which evolves during the process of painting, these artists have permitted the nature of the medium itself to determine the image. In his untitled watercolor of 1968, Sam Giliam, a young Negro [sic] artist from Washington, D.C. soaked color in an especially absorbent paper and then folded it several times. The interaction of the materials and the process, rather than the artist's touch and decision, brought about the random blots of color. To contrast with the textural softness and depth, the artist has covered parts of the surface with aluminum paint whose stuff glitter and deliberate lack of formal structure further stress the intrinsic qualitis of the paint and paper rather than the artist's participation. This frank emphasis on the physical aspects of the artist's means and activity reflect a diffidence toward self-revelation and the assignment of symbolic values to art, a trend which has become increasingly common in recent American art." (Text also translated into Russian.)
Measurements:
18 x 23 1/2 in. (sheet);
26 x 31 in. (frame).

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Signature: Signed in paint Sam Gilliam lower right

"American Contemporary Art", American Embassy, Moscow, Catalogue Essay by Margaret Patter, Associate Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (ca. 1970), with reproductions and essay about this work.

Exhibition catalogue for "American Contemporary Art", American Embassy, Moscow, Essay by Margaret Patter, Associate Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (ca. 1970), with reproductions and essay about this work.

Ex-Collection Museum of Modern Art, Museum Collection Number 69.1490

About Sam Gilliam

A pillar of the Washington, D.C., modern and contemporary art communities, internationally acclaimed abstract painter Sam Gilliam has been testing the boundaries of color, form, texture, and the canvas itself over the course of his long, productive career. Filling canvases with fields of deeply saturated color and layers of expressionistic brushstrokes, both subtle and bold, Gilliam was a part of the Washington Color School (late 1950s through mid-’70s) and has been associated with the Abstract Expressionists. Ever the innovator, he took his color-stained canvases off of the stretcher in the late 1960s and presented them in radical new ways: draped across walls and hung from the ceiling in generous, folding layers. These sculpture-painting hybrids have become a defining part of Gilliam’s practice and inflect all of his work with an ongoing exploration of the depth, physicality, and resonance of color.

American, b. 1933, Tupelo, Mississippi, based in Washington, DC, United States

Exhibition Highlights

2017
Griot's Art Gallery, Center for Haitian Studies, 
Miami, FL, United States,
Spirit of Collaboration: Sam Gilliam and Lou Stovall
2017
Seattle Art Museum, 
Seattle, WA, United States,
Sam Gilliam
2016
David Kordansky Gallery, 
Los Angeles, CA, United States,
Green April

Solo Shows

2017
Griot's Art Gallery, Center for Haitian Studies, 
Miami, FL, United States,
Spirit of Collaboration: Sam Gilliam and Lou Stovall
2017
Seattle Art Museum, 
Seattle, WA, United States,
Sam Gilliam
2016
David Kordansky Gallery, 
Los Angeles, CA, United States,
Green April
View Artist's CV