Sam Gilliam, African-American figure in abstract painting, dies at 88

The African-American abstract painter Sam Gilliam, known for his colorful canvases left free from the frames on which they are generally attached, died on Saturday June 25 at the age of 88, announced Monday two galleries having collaborated with him. He died at his Washington home of kidney failure according to the New York Times.

“Sam Gilliam was one of the giants of modernism”said Arne Glimcher, the founder of the Pace gallery, quoted in the press release. “Sam embodied a vital spirit of freedom, obtained with courage, ferocity, sensitivity and poetry”added David Kordansky, of the gallery of the same name.

One of Sam Gilliam's

It was at the end of the 1960s that Sam Gilliam, who had already painted his colored forms on folded canvases before stretching them on their frames, produced some of his most emblematic works, the “Drapes”by completely ridding his canvases of their wooden supports to let them fall freely from the ceiling or the walls.

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“These revolutionary works (…) changed the history of art”write the gallerists. “Gilliam transformed the medium of painting and its relationship to the spatial and architectural context in which it is seen. »

“1968 was a year of revelation and determination”, had explained the artist, quoted by the press release. Three of these canvases are currently exhibited at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, in Paris, as part of the exhibition “Runaway Color”until August 29, 2022.

The World with AFP

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