Size: 7.9 Linear feet; 7.9 Linear feet
Summary: The papers of contemporary Color Field painter and educator Sam Gilliam measure 7.9 linear feet and date from 1957 to 1989. The papers include biographical material, correspondence, writings, business records, printed material, subject files, a scrapbook, artwork, and photographic material that document Gilliam's life beginning as a student, through to his teaching, professorial, and artistic career based in Washington D.C. The collection highlights Gilliam's close involvement with the art institutions, racial politics, and artistic innovation from the 1960s through the 1980s, and particularly showcases the planning and creation of Gilliam's large-scale three-dimensional paintings, often associated with the Washington Color School.
Sam Gilliam (1933-2022) was an African American artist based in Washington, D.C. He was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, where he began painting as a child, eventually attending the University of Louisville where he received his B.A. in Fine Art and M.A. in Painting. He went on to teach art to high school students in the Washington D.C. public school system, and university-level students at the Corcoran School of Art, the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), the University of Maryland, and Carnegie Mellon University. His numerous grants and awards include the 1971 Solomon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and multiple Honorary Doctoral degrees.
The Sam Gilliam papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Sam Gilliam in 1989.
Also found in the Archives of American Art are two oral history interviews with Sam Gilliam, one conducted by Kenneth Young, September 18, 1984, and the other by Ben Forgey, November 4-11, 1989.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Henry Luce Foundation.