Sewell Sillman
(1924 - 1992)

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Nascent Orb #1


Untitled 12/23/82 (Black and white)
and verso
Untitled (Gold, Black and Tan)



 

Sewell Sillman was a painter, art teacher and print publisher. He was born on Oct. 24, 1924, in Savannah, Georgia.
Before entering college, he served with the United States infantry in Europe in World War II and was wounded in
combat. Shortly after the war, he enrolled at the experimental Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where he
studied with Albers, the abstract painter and theoretician. When Albers accepted a post at Yale, Mr. Sillman followed,
receiving a B.F.A. degree in 1951 and an M.F.A. in 1953.


In the art world, Mr. Sillman was acclaimed for the technically accomplished print editions of the work of such artists
and photographers as Josef Albers, Walker Evans, Piet Mondrian, Ad Reinhardt, Jean Dubuffet, Jacob Lawrence and
Romare Bearden, which he published with a partner, Norman Ives.

To a generation of students, he was also known as an inspired teacher who set rigorous standards for concept and
technical execution in his courses on color and drawing. After graduating, he joined the Yale faculty, remaining
until 1966, when he left to teach at the Rhode Island School of Design and to lecture at the University of Michigan.

In 1966, with Mr. Ives, a fellow artist at Yale, he formed Ives/ Sillman Publications. Their first effort was "Interaction
of Color,"a voluminous portfolio recording the writing and color studies of Albers's teachings. A second major Albers work,
"Formulation and Articulation," was produced in 1972 in collaboration with Harry N. Abrams Inc.

Mr. Sillman joined the University of Pennsylvania as a professor of art in 1985. He retired in 1990. As a painter, Mr. Sillman
elaborated on the formal exercises that were the focus of his teaching, producing strict geometric forms that resulted from
laying down self-imposed limitations and exploring their visual possibilities. His work was exhibited at the Sidney Janis and
the Stable galleries in New York City, and in 1987 he had a one-man show at the Denise Rene gallery in Paris. His work is in
the collection of the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and the Phillips
Collection in Washington.


From the artist’s obituary: New York Times, April 8, 1992

 

 

 

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