Sam Francis, American, 1923-1994,
b. San Mateo, California, Sam Francis was late to start his successful and brilliant career as an artist. He initially attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied botany, medicine and psychology. Shortly thereafter, Francis served in the United States Air Force during WWII where he suffered injury in a plane crash. His artistic career began soon after being released from the hospital when he returned to Berkeley to study art.
Initially, Francis was influenced and inspired by the works of abstract expressionists Mark Rothko and Arshile Gorky. He inhabited Paris during the 1950s where he became associated with Taschisme (the European equivalent of the Abstract Expressionist movement). This is where Francis’s spontaneous and impromptu brushwork, drips and scribbles of paint from the brush or directly from the tube heavily characterized Francis’s work. After Paris, he spent some time in Japan, which led to the apparent influences of Zen Buddhism in his work.
The mature works of Sam Francis are typically large oil paintings with energetic dashes and splattered areas of highly contrasting colors. His trademark habit of leaving white areas of the canvas to show through sometimes confine the color solely to the edges of the canvas.
Francis's work has been exhibited at major galleries and museums throughout the world, including:Museum of Modern Art, New York
National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
Milwaukee Art Museum
Buffalo Fine Arts Academy
Boston Institute of Contemporary Art