Elson Lecture 2003: Sam Gilliam

29 Sep 2023

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Sam Gilliam, artist, in conversation with Ruth Fine, curator of special projects in modern art, National Gallery of Art. For the 10th annual Elson Lecture, recorded on April 28, 2003, at the National Gallery of Art, Sam Gilliam discussed his artistic training at the University of Louisville (BFA 1955, MFA 1961) and his DC-based career since 1962. In conversation with Ruth Fine, Gilliam explained his transition from an expressionistic figurative style to the abstract painting associated with the Washington Color School. His painting took on several three-dimensional formats, starting with his draped canvases that eschewed the use of stretchers to take their own forms in space. By 2003, Gilliam’s work had been the subject of more than 30 solo exhibitions internationally and was represented in dozens of museum collections and public installations. His painting titled Relative (1969) was acquired by the Gallery in 1994.

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