Francis, Sam
born: 1923 San Mateo, California
died: 1994 Los Angeles

Sam Francis studied medicine before, bedridden for two years by a back injury, he taught himself to paint. In 195o he went to Paris, joining the circle of American painters who had gathered around Canadian artist Jean-Paul Riopelle. Though his early works still showed Abstract Expressionist influence, Francis soon arrived at the original idiom, inspired by Zen Buddhism, seen in the white and grey abstract compositions of the period. By about the middle of the 1950s this monochrome approach had been superseded by work in luminous color, Francis' In Lovely Blueness paintings. Composition in Blue belongs to this series of painterly trans- formations of experiences of nature, which were inspired by Hölderlin's poem In lieblicher Bläue. The paint consistency grew thinner, allowing the forms within the gridlike structure of the composition to flow into one another and interpenetrate. In making the collage Untitled, Francis used a simple technical device, dripping, spraying, and pouring the paint on the sheet of paper, then folding it to produce a symmetrically patterned result. This process and the visual efFect of the mirror-image texture relates the painting to Rorschach tests, images used in psychology to probe subconscious mental associations.


1959: Documenta II Allemagne, Cassel

1964 Documenta III Allemagne, Cassel

1978: Exposition Sam FRANCIS, peintures récentes 1976-1978 France, Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou / Mnam - Galeries contemporaines et Forum, expositions individuelles 

1997, Exposition Made in France 1947-1997, 50 ans de création en France.France, Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou / Mnam 

1997, Exposition Sunshine & Noir. L.A. Art 1960-1997 Danemark, Humlebaeck, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art