Spaightwood Galleries

120 Main Street, Upton MA 01568-6193

Last updated: 1/25/2017
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Sam Gilliam (American, b. 1933): Monoprints and mixed media works

Heroic Poetry: Jonna Rae Brinkman / Helen Frankenthaler / Sam Gilliam / Manel Llèdos / Joan Miró / Joan Mitchell
Robert Motherwell / Louise Nevelson / Joan Snyder / Antoni Tàpies

Sam Gilliam has been acclaimed as one of the most important and inventive colorists of the last thirty years; he is also a ceaseless experimenter in putting color on media, whether it be unstretched draped canvas or handmade, hand-painted paper upon which diverse media have been diversely applied. In a 1980 essay in ARTnews, Barbara Rose decried those who proclaim the death of painting and pointed to Sam Gilliam, Nancy Graves, Robert Moskowitz, and Susan Rothenberg as providing evidence to the contrary and applauded them as creators of work that is "transcendent, universal, humanist" and that tries to bring back "the pleasure of texture and the optical qualities of painting." One of the two most important African-American artists of the twentieth century, Sam Gilliam was the subject of a 1983 retrospective exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington D.C., Modern Painter at the Corcoran: Sam Gilliam and a 2005-2007 traveling exhibition that went to 5 museums, starting at the Corcoran. His works can be seen in such collections as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Beymans Museum in Rotterdam, the National Gallery of Art, the Phillips Collection, the Corcoran Museum, the Hirschhorn Museum, and the National Museum of American Art in Washington D. C., the Metropolitan Museum, the Whitney Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, the Tate Modern in London, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Menil Collection in Houston TX, the Elvehjem Museum of Art in Madison WI, and the Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris among many others.

Bibliography: Jonathan P. Binstock, Sam Gilliam: A Retrospective (Washington DC: Corcoran Gallery of Art, 2006; this study, distributed by the University of California Press, served as the catalogue of a traveling show that opened at the Corcoran in Oct. 2005, is at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville KY until 9/3/06, traveled to the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah GA, and concluded at the Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston TX on 5/6/07); Mary Schmidt Campbell, Red + Black To "D": Paintings by Sam Gilliam (NY: Studio Museum in Harlem, 1982), David C. Driskell, Contemporary Visual Expressions: The Art of Sam Gilliam, Martha Jackson-Jarvis, Keith Morrison, and William T. Williams (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1987); Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (NY: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1969: Special Issue on African-American art), Washington Art  (NY: SUNY Potsdam, 1971). Although there is no catalogue raisonné of Gilliam's prints, the Jones Road Print Shop and Stable 1971-1981: A Catalogue Raisonné of works done in collaboration with Bill Weege (David Acton and John Loring, Madison Art Center, 1983) gives details on 52 editions or series of monoprints done by Gilliam during this period, including Elegy (see below).
Elegy II (Jones Road 56). Part of a mixed media series of 4 monoprints using handpainting (with oil paints), embossing, and relief printing on very heavy hand-made paper, 1980. Printed at the Jones Road Print Shop with Bill Weege (Professor of Art at the University of Wisconsin, Madison), from whom we acquired it. Signed, dated 21 July 1980, and titled "Elegy 2" on the reverse of the image. As the catalogue raisonné puts it, "the five editions of embossings of 1980 are printed on thick handmade paper produced by Paul Douglas at the Jones Road Print Shop and Stable. The embossed and relief printed images are common, while each impression is made unique by individual painting." Image size: 580x910mm (irregular). Price: $6500.
Manet I. Original mixed media monoprint series of 120 incorporating handpainting on hand-made paper, relief printing, screenprinting, cutouts, collage, and stitching, 1999. Printed at the Tandem Press (University of Wisconsin) in Madison. Image size: 450x575mm (irregular). Price: SOLD
Manet II. Original mixed media monoprint series of 120 incorporating handpainting on hand-made paper, relief printing, screenprinting, cutouts, collage, and stitching, 1999. Printed at the Tandem Press (University of Wisconsin) in Madison. Image size: 450x575mm (irregular). Price: SOLD
Manet III. Original mixed media monoprint series of 120 incorporating handpainting on hand-made paper, relief printing, screenprinting, cutouts, collage, and stitching, 1999. Printed at the Tandem Press (University of Wisconsin) in Madison. Image size: 450x575mm (irregular). Price: SOLD
Manet IV. Original mixed media monoprint series of 120 incorporating handpainting on hand-made paper, relief printing, screenprinting, cutouts, collage, and stitching, 1999. Printed at the Tandem Press (University of Wisconsin) in Madison. Image size: 450x575mm (irregular). Price: SOLD
Manet V. Original mixed media monoprint series of 120 incorporating handpainting on hand-made paper, relief printing, screenprinting, cutouts, collage, and stitching, 1999. Printed at the Tandem Press (University of Wisconsin) in Madison. Image size: 450x585mm (irregular). Price: SOLD.
Jonathan P. Binstock, Sam Gilliam: A Retrospective (Washington DC: Corcoran Gallery of Art, 2006); this study, distributed by the University of California Press, served as the catalogue of a traveling show that opened at the Corcoran in Oct. 2005, was at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville KY until Sept. 2006, traveled to the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah GA, and concluded at the Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston TX on 5/6/07). Large format (11"x9") softbound binding. Brand new copies available for $25 plus shipping.

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