Francis, Sam, 1923-1994Alternative names
California born artist Sam Francis was a second generation Abstract Expressionist painter who incorporated influences of Jungian psychology, Buddhism, and Japanese watercolor into the urban and angst-ridden painting style of the New York School. After living abroad in Paris and Japan, he settled in Los Angeles, where he founded a print press, the Litho Shop, a book publishing enterprise, Lapis Press, and painted prolifically until his death in 1994.
From the description of Sam Francis papers 1916-2010, (bulk 1950-1994) (Getty Research Institute). WorldCat record id: 80343168
Francis is a painter, lithographer; Los Angeles, California.
From the description of [Prints] [graphic] / Sam Francis. 1972-1982. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 220205588
d. Nov. 4, 1994.
From the description of Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. (Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)). WorldCat record id: 82354550
Sam Francis was born in 1923 in San Mateo, California. He studied botany and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, but dropped out before graduating to enlist in the Army during World War II. Injured in a training flight crash in 1944, he was a convalescent for several years, during which time he began to paint as a form of distraction. When he recovered he returned to college, studying painting under Bay Area artists David Park and Clifford Still.
Francis moved to Paris in the 1950s, where he had his first solo exhibition at the Galerie Nina Dausset. Shortly thereafter, he joined Martha Jackson Gallery, and was featured in the landmark 1956 12 Americans show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In the late 1950s he painted a mural for the Sogetsu School in Toyko, Japan, initiating a lifelong relationship with people and art institutions in that country. In the early 1960s he permanently settled in Los Angeles, where he remained a prolific painter until the end of his life. He founded a fine art printing press, the Litho Shop, in 1970, and a book publishing business, Lapis Press, in 1984, the latter with Jan Butterfield and Jack Stauffacher. He became a key figure in the incipient Los Angeles art scene, known for his support of other artists, and was a founding member of the Museum of Contemporary Art. At the same time, he had frequent exhibitions and major retrospectives at museums in Europe, Japan and the U.S. Both famous and unusually wealthy for a California painter, he felt also the burden of responsibility his achievement brought and was known to remark that he was "tired" of being Sam Francis.
A second generation Abstract Expressionist, Francis brought to the New York style of painting the influences of Jungian psychology, Buddhism and Japanese aesthetics. His work evolved from the monochrome abstractions of the 1950s to color-splattered canvases with large fields of white. While generally acknowledged as an important post-war painter, critical acclaim focuses on his 1950s paintings, a series titled Blue Balls (created in response to a bout with renal tuberculosis) and a series painted for his fourth wife, Mako Idemitsu.
Francis was married five times and had four children. He died in 1994 at the age of 71.
From the guide to the Sam Francis papers, 1916-2010 (bulk 1950-1994), (The Getty Research Institute Special Collections 1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100 Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688 (310) 440-7390)
|associatedWith||American Art Expositions (Firm)||corporateBody|
|associatedWith||American Federation of Arts.||corporateBody|
|associatedWith||André Emmerich Gallery||corporateBody|
|associatedWith||Blackburn, Robert Hamilton, 1920-||person|
|associatedWith||DeFeo, Jay, 1929-1989||person|
|associatedWith||Falkenstein, Claire, 1908-1997,||person|
|associatedWith||Francis, Sam, 1923-1994.||person|
|associatedWith||Greenberg, Clement, 1909-1994.||person|
|associatedWith||Hollander, Irwin, 1927-||person|
|associatedWith||Hultén, Pontus, 1924-2006.||person|
|associatedWith||Idemitsu, Mako, 1940-||person|
|associatedWith||Jaffe, Shirley, 1923-||person|
|associatedWith||Lembark, Connie W., 1934-||person|
|associatedWith||Leslie, Alfred, 1927-||person|
|associatedWith||Lobdell, Frank, 1921-||person|
|associatedWith||Martha Jackson Gallery.||corporateBody|
|associatedWith||Martin, Fred, 1927-||person|
|associatedWith||Mitchell, Joan, 1926-||person|
|associatedWith||Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.)||corporateBody|
|associatedWith||Nicholas Wilder Gallery.||corporateBody|
|associatedWith||Pierre Matisse Gallery (New York, N.Y.)||corporateBody|
|associatedWith||Selz, Peter Howard, 1919-||person|
|associatedWith||Tamarind Lithography Workshop.||corporateBody|
|associatedWith||The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art Library.||corporateBody|
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|Art--Collectors and collecting|
|Small presses--California--Los Angeles|