Acrylic on canvas, 1966-1997. 610x610 mm; 24x24 inches. Signed, titled and dated in ink, verso.
Provenance: acquired directly from the artist (1997); private collection, Maryland.
Exhibited: Middendorf/Lane Gallery, Washington, DC, with the gallery label on the stretcher bars. According to Jonathan Binstock, Gilliam began having a relationship with the gallery in 1978.
Toyopet I. is a dashing, experimental canvas, and one of the earliest abstract paintings by Sam Gilliam to come to auction. This intriguing painting dates from Gilliam's first period of experimentation in color field painting from 1966-1968 with his earliest staining of raw canvas and use of improvisation. With a similar ethereal atmosphere of blurred earthy colors, Toyopet I is painting appears closely related to Gilliam's Light Fan, 1966, in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC. Other similar, small color field paintings from this 1966 period include So They Can and Autumn Points; each share an gauzy organic flow of bands of verdant color. Then Gilliam revisited the stained canvas in 1997, adding daring dashes of more vibrant color, suspended in layers of acrylic medium. Binstock p. 163.