20th Century Artists


Sam Francis

Sam Francis was initially influenced by the work of abstract expressionists such as Mark Rothko, Arshile Gorky and Clyfford Still. His work can be considered abstract, luminous and painterly rather than gestural and can be associated with Colour Field painting.

Sam Francis spent the 1950s in Paris where he became associated with Tachisme. His early work was monochromatic, composed by white and greyish biomorphic forms.

In the mid-1950’s, Francis began to paint fields of various sized clusters of cell-like shapes usually in blue, yellow, and red on a white ground. By the late 1950’s he concentrated on large mural sized works dominated by white and bordered by colourful clusters of forms. This remained his vocabulary throughout his career but by the 1970’s and 1980’s a greater degree of structure emerged.

Francis returned to California during the 1960s and continued painting in Los Angeles. He also spent time in Japan, and his work became influenced by Zen Buddhism.

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