Born in San Mateo, California in 1923, Francis served in the United States Air Force and earned degrees in psychology and botany from the University of California, Berkeley, before moving to Paris in the 1950s and travelling extensively to Tokyo, Mexico City and New York.
Sam Francis was one of the most internationally acclaimed American painters of his time. Throughout the five decades of his career, from the early 1940s to the late 1990s, Francis’ work was inspired by French Impressionism and Fauvism, San Francisco Bay Area Modernism, and ancient and contemporary Asian scrollwork and ink drawings. Francis’ work often balances the artist’s sense of capturing the power of light, shadow, colour and dynamics in a way that opens up the imagination.
Sam Francis saturates his canvases with splashes and drips of paint, emphasising the bright voids he leaves behind. Some of the white areas in the paintings are symbols of eternity and emptiness and are particularly important stylistic elements of the paintings. The value of Francis’ paintings is about the measurement between trade-offs.
Through his early years in Paris, Francis gained the attention of art collectors, critics, art dealers and curators. Featured in magazines such as Time Magazine, where he was named « the most active American artist in Paris, » Francis’ work was widely exhibited in major institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York before 1956.
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© Photo : Jean Marie del Moral
Sans titre, 1970, acrylique sur papier, 104x75cm
COMPOSITION, 1990, technique mixte sur papier, 39x26cm