Sam Gilliam ( GHIL-ee-əm; born November 30, 1933) is a color field painter and lyrical abstractionist artist. Gilliam, an African American, is associated with the Washington Color School, a group of Washington, D.C. area artists that developed a form of abstract art from color field painting in the 1950s and 1960s. His works have also been described as belonging to abstract expressionism and lyrical abstraction. He works on stretched, draped and wrapped canvas, and adds sculptural 3D elements. He is recognized as the first artist to introduce the idea of a draped, painted canvas hanging without stretcher bars around 1965. This was a major contribution to the Color Field School.
In his more recent work, Gilliam has worked with polypropylene, computer-generated imaging, metallic and iridescent acrylics, handmade paper, aluminum, steel, plywood, and plastic.