St. Louis I-VIII, 1981
About the artist
After earning MFA and BFA degrees in painting from the University of Louisville, Sam Gilliam taught public school for nine years. He then moved to Washington, DC, where he began to focus completely on his painting. Subsequently, he became associated with the Washington Color Field painters.
Gilliam is best known for his innovative practice of painting upon unstretched canvas, and draping the painted canvas rather than hanging it flatly on a wall. His work is in the permanent collections of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of African Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and La Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Gilliam has also appeared in shows held all over the United States and abroad, including Senegal, Japan, France, and India. He was featured in the 1972 Venice Biennale and has received numerous grants and awards, including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and honorary doctorates from several universities.