Larger Type
Smaller Type

Search Collections

Light Fan

1966 Sam Gilliam Born: Tupelo, Mississippi 1933 acrylic on canvas 36 1/4 x 36 in. (92.1 x 91.4 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the Woodward Foundation 1977.48.2 Not currently on view

Luce Center Quote

"I think being creative means you are both curious and serious about your relationship to your work. It means you are eager to develop the next step even if it has to be invented." The artist, quoted in Sam Gilliam: Of Fireflies and Ferris Wheels: Monastery Parallel, Art Museum Kloster Unser Lieben Frauen, 1996-97

Luce Center Label

Sam Gilliam was one of the youngest members of the Washington Color School during the 1960s and '70s. In Light Fan he poured vibrant washes of yellow, green, and blue paint over raw canvas to emphasize color instead of form, and appears to have folded the painting as it was drying to create the diagonal line that runs from corner to corner. The plain canvas at the edge of the image captures the movement of the paint as it spread over and soaked into the unprimed fabric.




paint - acrylic

fabric - canvas

About Sam Gilliam

Born: Tupelo, Mississippi 1933

More works in the collection by
Sam Gilliam

Classroom Resources