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Sam Gilliam

Tupelo, USA, 1933


Born in Mississippi in 1933, Gilliam is considered one of the most innovative artists to have emerged from the Washington School of Color in the 1960s. Experimentation has been the only constant in his prolific career that has resulted in significant breakthroughs such as his drape paintings as well as the expansion from the frame by creating a variety of irregular forms. Giliam is the first African-American artist to represent the US at the Venice Biennale in 1972, and he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Arts in 2015.

Art photo courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art
Profile photo by Sam Gilliam, courtesy of The Washington Post