Sam Francis


Year: 1994
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Size: 14 x 22”
Framed size: 20 x 28”
Stamped on canvas verso with the Sam Francis Estate logo and facsimile signature stamps
Sam Francis Catalogue Raisonné Number: SFF.1770; Sam Francis Archive number: SF94-88


Year: 1994
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Size: 16 x 20”
Frame Size: 22.5 x 26.5”
Dated on verso ‘7/23/94’ and stamped with the Sam Francis Estate logo and the signature stamp
Included in the Sam Francis Catalogue Raisonne



Portrait of artist Sam Francis

Heralded as the “hottest American painter in Paris” by Time magazine in 1956, Sam Francis did not have a cookie-cutter path to fine art. Born in San Mateo, CA in 1923, Francis’ undergraduate studies - in medicine - at UC Berkley were postponed when he joined the military in 1943. He sustained spinal injuries in a plane crash during World War II which caused him to spend several years in the hospital; it was there that Sam Francis discovered painting, inspired by David Park (professor at a near by arts college). Francis returned to Berkley in 1948 – this time to study art.

Francis graduated with a Masters in Art from Berkley and left the United States to travel abroad. He spent several years in France, where he further developed his passion for color and had his first solo exhibit in Paris. He then traveled across Europe [his first museum show took place in Switzerland] and lived in Japan for several years before returning to live full time in the United States.

Abstract expressionists including Mark Rothko, Arshile Gorky, and Clyfford Still make the list of Francis’ early influences. Along with the likes of Joan Mitchell and Helen Frankenthaler, Francis is credited with “introducing the lyrical and sensual use of paint and color to Abstract Expressionism.” Francis worked in a number of mediums throughout his life, including prints and sculpture, but he is perhaps best known for his use of brilliant colors contrasted with white, often un-primed, canvas.

Sam Francis’ works may be found in private and public collections across the globe. He has works in several museums, including: the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), the Art Institute of Chicago, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Whitney Museum of Art (New York), the Seattle Art Museum, Centre Pompidou (Paris), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Moderna Museet (Stockholm), and Tate London, among others.