Sam Francis 1923-1994

Born in San Mateo, California. Attended University of California, Berkeley to study medicine and psychology from 1941-3. Francis then studied painting at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco and then at Berkeley from 1948-50, gaining both a BA and an MA qualification. In 1950 he went to Paris and was given his first one-man show in 1952.

His early work circa 1950 is more subdued and lighter in tone than the later work for which he has become famous. Early influences included Cezanne and the Impressionists. In 1957 he began a world tour and spent a long time in New York, Mexico and Japan. His work of this time has been compared to the haboku or ‘flung ink’ style from Japan. Francis was interested in Japanese calligraphy during the 1950’s and the order and delicate application of ink is clearly based in the Japanese tradition.

Francis was included in the Sau Paulo Bienal, Brazil and Documenta II, Germany in 1959. He became increasingly interested in lithography in the early 1960’s and his introduction to the medium by Tatyana Grosman sparked a new way of layering colour for the artist which he has explored throughout his career. ... read more

Sam Francis Paintings and Drawings

Untitled

Sam Francis: Untitled, 1990