Sam Francis

Biography

Sam Francis is an American artist, one of the country’s most important. Francis was born in San Mateo, California, in 1923. He began painting in 1944, while recovering from injuries sustained from an airplane crash while serving in the US Air Force. He studied under David Park at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. In his early abstract paintings, reminiscent of the work of Clyfford Still and Jackson Pollock, he used spontaneous painterly gestures, resulting in the typically American, “all-over” structure: The whole canvas is covered with dots, spots, specks and other traces of the painterly brush. While in Paris from 1950 – 1957, Francis briefly gave up colour and went a new direction, like in “White Painting” (1950), but he returned to red and pink in the following summer in the South of France and later embraced the whole range of colours again. Sometimes he makes use of a full spectrum of colours and their variations in hue, and other times he allows one colour to dominate, like the blue in “Blue Balls” (1960). Although Francis has been associated with colour field painting, this may be just a categorization used to come to grips with a highly original pictorial language. Francis’s “fields” hardly ever, if at all, show themselves to be fields of colour. Rather, they have foreground / background structures and often invoke depth, making the canvas rather a “colour space.”

What is typical of Francis in pictorial strategy is that he often leaves the centre of the image white and void, concentrating on the border of the canvas, the sides, counterbalancing these images in his oeuvre by those that do just the opposite. Sometimes his paintings are interlaced with a central geometrical structure, or merge with an all-over grid or lattice. This can go as far as closing up the canvas and using it as a ground for abstract pattern brushwork, like in “Blue and Yellow” (1954, ex Betty Freeman Collection).

After his death in 1994, Sam Francis’s works have continued to be exhibited in the most important international museums and galleries. The Samuelis Baumgarte Gallery presented a selection of the artist’s works in their main hall. Sam Francis - Painting and prints

Gallery Exhibitions

Samuelis Baumgarte exhibitions:

Sam Francis, Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie, August 31, 2017 - October 21, 2017, Sam Francis

Sam Francis, Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie, Nov. 20, 2013 - Nov. 24, 2013, Cologne Fine Art 2013

Sam Francis, Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie, March 7, 2013 - March 10, 2013, art KARSLSRUHE 2013

Sam Francis, Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie, April 18, 2012 - April 22, 2012, ART COLOGNE 2012

Sam Francis, Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie, Oct. 10, 2009 - Nov. 28, 2009, Sam Francis - Paintings and Prints

Sam Francis, Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie, Jan. 14, 2006 - March 14, 2006, Zeitschnitt

 

 

Museum Exhibitions

Phares, 14.02.2014 - 15.02.2016, Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz

Sam Francis: Five Decades of Abstract Expressionism from California Collections, 26.01.2014 - 20.04.2014, Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA, USA

Sam Francis: Five Decades of Abstract Expressionism from California Collections, 11.08.2013 - 05.01.2014, Pasadena Museum of California Art, Los Angeles

Experiments in Abstraction, 26.11.2011 – 19.02.2012, San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, USA