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Sam Francis


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"Painting is about the beauty of space and the power of containment."

Sam Francis

Sam Francis (1923-1994) is known for his abstract expressionist work and the use of bold splashes of color to create movement in his art. He began his education at the University of California Berkeley in the sciences focusing on botany, medicine and psychology. He began painting in 1944 during a three-year hospitalization. His formal art education was at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. Through his travels and various studios in the United States, France, and Japan, Sam Francis was influenced by early abstract and color field artists such as Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, the French Impressionists and Zen Buddhism. He also experimented with the written word in his pieces and was influenced by Japanese calligraphy. This work uses the white negative space seen in Asian Art, the method of gestural abstraction with splattered paint, and lyrical passages among the painted bold forms.