Sam Gilliam

Painter and printmaker Sam Gilliam was born in Tupelo, MS. He earned his BFA and MFA from the University of Louisville, KY. He was Brandywine Workshop and Archives’ first artist-in-residence in 1975 and has been a longstanding supporter of BWA, returning several times to make prints over the years. He currently lives and works in Washington, DC.

Gilliam's work was featured in Sam Gilliam: The Music of Color, 1967–1973 at the Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland, and group and survey exhibitions including the traveling exhibition Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power.

Known for his lyrical, abstract paintings, Gilliam is one of the key artists associated with the Washington, DC Color School of the 1960s and 1970s, which included artists Kenneth Noland and Jules Olitski. Gilliam is considered one of America’s greatest abstract expressionists.
—From Brandywine Workshop and Archives records

Artist Info


November 30 1933

Tupelo, MN






African American