Dallas Museum of Art Acquires Sam Gilliam Painting

Sam Gilliam, Leaf, 1970, acrylic on canvas. DALLAS MUSEUM OF ART/GIFT OF TIMOTHY C. HEADINGTON

Sam Gilliam, Leaf, 1970, acrylic on canvas.


The Dallas Museum of Art announced today that it has acquired Sam Gilliam’s 1970 painting Leaf. The first work by Gilliam to enter the museum’s collection, the painting was acquired under the leadership of Agustín Arteaga, who started as director in September. The work was donated by Dallas developer Tim Headington.

Leaf is one of Gilliam’s “drape” works—thinly painted canvases that are hung like curtains, with folds in them. This work is pinched and tied in the middle at the top, so that the canvas billows out, almost creating an effect similar to the fabrics in Baroque sculpture.

Gilliam has received a great deal more notice recently, and his work has been seen in collection hangs at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, among other places. The sudden fascination with Gilliam is partially because, over the past few years, there has been more and more interest in process-based abstraction from the 1960s and ’70s, particularly by artists of color and women. Gavin Delahunty, a senior curator at DMA, called the work an “invaluable resource for the collection and our audiences” in a statement.

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