FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SAM FRANCIS: FIVE DECADES
UNIQUE WORKS AND IMPORTANT PRINTS
January 7, 2006 - February 6, 2006
Leslie Sacks Fine Art
11640 San Vicente Blvd. (Brentwood), Los Angeles, CA 90049
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310.820-9448, Fax 310.2071757
Web site, http://www.lesliesacks.com
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Sam Francis, Sam, Untitled, 1958, watercolor and gouache on paper, 42 1/2 x 29 3/8 inches.
In 1956 at 33 years of age, American painter and printmaker, Sam Francis (see http://www.lesliesacks.com/gallery/artistPages/francis/francis.htm) was acknowledged as one of the leaders of modern American painting by his inclusion in the “12 Americans” exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. This same year Time Magazine pronounced him "the hottest American painter in Paris." A native and longtime resident of California, Francis was also a citizen of the world, residing and maintaining studios for long stretches in Europe and Japan.
This exhibition presents classic examples of Sam Francis’ work covering five decades. It includes an important watercolor and gouache on paper from 1958, an equally fine oil on paper from 1963 that is a segue between the "Blue Balls" motif of that period and the "Edge" paintings that would follow shortly thereafter. A particularly crisp Edge painting (oil on canvas) is also included, as well as a several strong works on paper from the seventies and number of the artist's best prints: aquatints in small editions from the 1980's though 1990.
Dripping, corpuscular shapes painted in a fluid style are typical elements of Francis' work and circulate freely around many of his compositions, reflecting both a concern with the 'ceaseless instability’ of the world as frequently noted in Buddhist thought, and a lifelong fascination with microbiology. Despite the apparent spontaneity of his compositions, Francis was highly methodical. In the mid 1960’s he pushed all forms to the edges of his compositions (the Edge paintings), leaving large empty spaces in the center in accordance with the contemplative Japanese notion of negative space.
The angular geometry of the Edge series expanded in the 'seventies as he returned to "all over" composition through the use of grid like forms. During the eighties and until his death in 1994, Francis reverted to a fundamentally abstract expressionist style much like that of his mid to late fifties work, but with an even stronger palette.