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Sewell Sillman (1924-1992)
acrylic on masonite
31¾ x 44½ in. (80.6 x 105.4 cm.)
Painted in 1965.
The Estate of Sewell Sillman, Stonington

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Lot Essay

Christie's is delighted to offer a spectacular work by one of the master American modernists of the twentieth century, Sewell Sillman. Sillman was a student and protégé of Bauhaus founder Josef Albers at Black Mountain College, the hotbed of avant-garde activity in 1940s America. His visually powerful works are characterized by strict geometric forms that are the result of self-imposed compositional limitations and the exploration of their visual possibilities. During their decades of collaboration Sillman absorbed Albers' approach to color, design and drawing, not only incorporating these into his own works but also passing them on to a younger generation of artists during his teaching at Black Mountain College, Yale University and the Rhode Island School of Design. To a generation of students, he was an inspiring teacher who set rigorous standards for concept and technical execution during his classes on color and drawing. Currently the subject of a retrospective at the Florence Griswold Museum in Connecticut, Sillman's work has also been exhibited at the Sidney Janis and Stable galleries in New York and included in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

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