Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Whirlirama

Artist:
Sam Gilliam (American, born Tupelo, Mississippi, 1933)
Date:
1970
Medium:
Acrylic on canvas
Dimensions:
9 ft. 3 1/4 in. × 9 ft. 7 1/2 in. (282.6 × 293.4 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Purchase, Arthur Hoppock Hearn Fund and Pamela Joyner Gift, 2014
Accession Number:
2014.441
Rights and Reproduction:
© Sam Gilliam
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 923
Based in Washington, D.C., Gilliam has long been at the forefront of developments in abstract painting. In the 1950s and 1960s, he belonged to the Washington Color School, whose members experimented with novel painting techniques and emphasized color, process, and materiality. To create Whirlirama, Gilliam applied acrylic paint onto raw, unprimed canvas without using brushes, instead staining it like a piece of fabric. After applying flourishes of silver and red, he crumpled the support, causing the paint to smear and the hues to intermingle in unpredictable ways. He then mounted the canvas on a beveled-edge stretcher, reinforcing the physicality of his otherwise ethereal, lyrical painting.
Inscription: Signed, dated, and inscribed (back): Whirlirama 70/ S. Gilliam
the artist, Washington, D. C. (1970–2014; sold through David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles to MMA)

Jim Lewis. "Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, and Blue Period." W Magazine (November 28, 2014), p. 88.

Jonathan P. Binstock et al. Sam Gilliam. Exh. cat., David Kordansky Gallery. New York, 2016, ill. pp. 52-53 (color).

Related Objects

Leah's Renoir

Artist: Sam Gilliam (American, born Tupelo, Mississippi, 1933) Date: 1979 Medium: Acrylic on canvas with collage sections Accession: 1979.212 On view in:Not on view

Two Palettes (Sears, Roebuck; Francis Picabia)

Artist: Jim Dine (American, born Cincinnati, Ohio, 1935) Date: 1963 Medium: Oil, acrylic, enamel, and charcoal on primed canvas Accession: 1994.25ab On view in:Gallery 925

Autumn Rhythm (Number 30)

Artist: Jackson Pollock (American, Cody, Wyoming 1912–1956 East Hampton, New York) Date: 1950 Medium: Enamel on canvas Accession: 57.92 On view in:Gallery 921

The Flower Girl

Artist: Charles Cromwell Ingham (American (born Ireland), Dublin 1786–1863 New York) Date: 1846 Medium: Oil on canvas Accession: 02.7.1 On view in:Gallery 756

Ada Rehan

Artist: John Singer Sargent (American, Florence 1856–1925 London) Date: 1894–95 Medium: Oil on canvas Accession: 40.146 On view in:Gallery 771