Medium

Sam Middleton was one of the leading 20th-century American artists living and working in the Netherlands. A mixed-media artist, whose choice medium was collage, Middleton grew up in Harlem at the height of the Harlem Renaissance.
In the early 50's Middleton frequented the Cedar Tavern and formed close friendships with New York School artists including Franz Kline, Jackson Pollack, and Robert Motherwell. His circle of beat writer and artist friends soon gravitated to The Five Spot Café on the Lower East Side where jazz greats Cecil Taylor, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, and Charlie Parker performed nightly. These musicians emphasized improvisation, spontaneity, and creativity of sound. Middleton found inspiration in this new sound and worked to find his own creative voice. He said: “For me, improvisation is a galaxy of color. When I listen to music I feel
like a soloist.”
In 1955, Middleton made his first artistic trip outside of New York. Following the lead of other African American artists such as Charles White and Elizabeth Catlett who were in search of a more open-minded atmosphere than pre-Civil Rights United States, Middleton settled briefly in Mexico City. He had traveled there under a grant from the John Hay Whitney Museum that Franz Kline had helped him secure. In Mexico City, Middleton began working in collage and transforming his artistic viewpoint from social realism to expressionism. He had his first one- man exhibition in Mexico City in 1957. By 1959, Middleton had left the United States permanently. He moved to Spain, then Sweden and Denmark, before finding his permanent home in the Netherlands, settling in Holland

Middleton’s work is included in American museum collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, Fisk University Galleries, the Hampton University Museum, and the Howard University Museum. His work is further included in international museum collections in Australia, Israel, and The Netherlands.

Selected exhibitions
2021
Sam Middleton: Painter of Sound, A virtual exhibitionSpanierman Modern
2020
African American AbstractionSpanierman Modern
2017
Sam Middleton: The Sam I Am Is CollageGerald Peters Gallery
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Hymn to Democracy, 1962

Collage
17 1/2 × 25 1/2 in
44.5 × 64.8 cm
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Location
New York, Santa Fe
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Medium

Sam Middleton was one of the leading 20th-century American artists living and working in the Netherlands. A mixed-media artist, whose choice medium was collage, Middleton grew up in Harlem at the height of the Harlem Renaissance.
In the early 50's Middleton frequented the Cedar Tavern and formed close friendships with New York School artists including Franz Kline, Jackson Pollack, and Robert Motherwell. His circle of beat writer and artist friends soon gravitated to The Five Spot Café on the Lower East Side where jazz greats Cecil Taylor, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, and Charlie Parker performed nightly. These musicians emphasized improvisation, spontaneity, and creativity of sound. Middleton found inspiration in this new sound and worked to find his own creative voice. He said: “For me, improvisation is a galaxy of color. When I listen to music I feel
like a soloist.”
In 1955, Middleton made his first artistic trip outside of New York. Following the lead of other African American artists such as Charles White and Elizabeth Catlett who were in search of a more open-minded atmosphere than pre-Civil Rights United States, Middleton settled briefly in Mexico City. He had traveled there under a grant from the John Hay Whitney Museum that Franz Kline had helped him secure. In Mexico City, Middleton began working in collage and transforming his artistic viewpoint from social realism to expressionism. He had his first one- man exhibition in Mexico City in 1957. By 1959, Middleton had left the United States permanently. He moved to Spain, then Sweden and Denmark, before finding his permanent home in the Netherlands, settling in Holland

Middleton’s work is included in American museum collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, Fisk University Galleries, the Hampton University Museum, and the Howard University Museum. His work is further included in international museum collections in Australia, Israel, and The Netherlands.

Selected exhibitions (3)
Other works from Gerald Peters Gallery
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