Last year, BMCM+AC received a donation of student notebooks from the Estate of Sewell “Si” Sillman. His notes and sketches showed many of his developing practices while studying painting with W.P. “Pete” Jennerjahn and drawing with Josef Albers at BMC.
Sillman went on to attend Yale, continuing his studies under Albers and becoming a faculty member in 1954. In 1956, Sillman organized an exhibition at Yale’s new art gallery with an accompanying catalog featuring screenprints of Albers’ “Homage to the Square.” Following this collaboration, Sillman and his fellow faculty member, graphic designer Norman Ives, established the art publishing firm Ives-Sillman in 1962, publishing Albers’ “Interaction of Color” the next year. (Source: The Johnson Collection)
Sillman’s approach to art-making was one rooted in experimentation, working methodically with color, line and form following many of the principles he learned at Black Mountain College.
This sketch is from Sillman’s notebook from 1949, the same year that fellow student Ruth Asawa began to develop her undulating wire forms.
Sewell Sillman, detail from notebook sketch, 1949. Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center permanent collection. Gift of the Estate of Sewell Sillman and Adam Tamsky.