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Sam Francis in Broadway studio, Santa Monica, 1983

Sam Francis Foundation, California / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Photo by Micheal Childers


Organized by Heather James Fine Art - Palm Desert November 15, 2018 - April 29, 2019


“The process of painting is one of devotion to that image. The illusion is what you make of it . . . each painting is like my body print, taken at different moments of my life.” —Sam Francis A View of Five Decades It is with great enthusiasm that the Sam Francis Foundation introduces the current exhibition at Heather James Fine Art in Palm Desert. The prolific career of Samuel “Sam” Lewis Francis (b. 1923, San Mateo, CA – d. 1994, Santa Monica, CA), one of the most internationally acclaimed American painters of his generation, spanned five decades, from the late 1940s to the early 1990s. This exhibition offers a glimpse into Francis’s oeuvre, inspired in part by incredibly diverse sources including French Impressionism and Fauvism, and San Francisco Bay Area modernism, along with ancient and contemporary Asian scroll and sumi-e artworks. His world travels — as he worked for extended periods in studios in Paris, Bern, Mexico City, New York, and Tokyo, as well as various locales in California — enriched both his work and his outlook. Featuring paintings and works on paper ranging from his early to his last works, Heather James Fine Arts’ first major exhibition of the artist in their gallery offers a compelling view of Francis’ visual world. Selections include his early 1950s paintings, the “Blue Balls” of the 1960s, the “Grids” and “Mandalas” of the 1970s, the “Archetypal” paintings of the 1980s, and the powerful “Last Works” completed in the summer of 1994, six months before his death. The exhibition provides a unique opportunity to view Francis’ exploration of infinite space over the course of his entire career. Questioning the dualities of the universe that we know and imagine, his works are infused with the universal search to find balance and meaning between the physical and the spiritual, the material and the immaterial world, mind and body, man and nature. His paintings -- whether intimate in size, as in Untitled, 1955, a subtle monochromatic, ink on paper, or monumental in scale, as in A Whirling Square, 1975 -- ultimately reveal his intense spirit. Conveyed through his dexterous layering of paint, the fluidity of his brush strokes, and his vibrant palette, Francis’ poetic compositions are windows into the soul, offering light-infused voids of silence and colorful forms of contemplation. Debra Burchett-Lere Executive Director/President Sam Francis Foundation

Images clockwise from top: Tokyo studio, Japan, 1974 Sam Francis in Rue Tiphaine studio, Paris (photo by Lennart Olson/Tio, Stocklom) Sam Francis in Arcueil studio, Paris Sam Francis at a Paris cafe Sam Francis in Akasaka studio, Tokyo Sam Francis working in Tokyo studio Sam Francis in Arcueil studio, Paris (Photo by Georges Boisgontier, France) Sam Francis in Broadway studio, Santa Monica, 1983 (Photo by Jerry Sohn) All images courtesy Sam Francis Foundation, California / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


Sam Francis: From Dusk to Dawn Installation at Heather James Fine Art - Palm Desert, California


—Sam Francis


A Whirling Square acrylic on canvas 222 x 210 in. 1975


Untitled oil on canvas 45 1/2 x 36 in. 1948 -1949 On loan courtesy of a private collection


Yellow, Blue & Orange watercolor on paper 22 1/8 x 30 1/8 in. 1956 -1957


Untitled egg tempera and gouache on Masonite panel 40 x 29 3/4 in. 1958 -1959 On loan courtesy of the Sam Francis Foundation


Untitled oil on canvas 83 3/4 x 75 5/8 in. 1961-1962


Untitled acrylic on Masonite panel 9 x 6 1/4 in. 1964


Untitled acrylic on canvas 24 x 24 in. c. 1969


Untitled (from 36 Kao’s Faces) gouache and acrylic on paper 16 x 12 in. 1974


Untitled acrylic on paper 29 x 23 in. 1976


Coral Trails acrylic on canvas 78 x 108 in. 1986


Ducat acrylic on canvas 5 1/2 x 8 3/4 in. 1986


Untitled acrylic on canvas 36 x 36 1/4 in. 1986


Untitled acrylic on paper 29 3/4 x 22 1/4 in. 1990


Untitled acrylic on shaped canvas 52 7/8 x 52 7/8 in. 1990


“color is a pattern that plays across the membrane of the mind” —Sam Francis


Untitled ink on paper 11 x 13 1/2 in. 1955


Untitled acrylic on paper on board 12 5/8 x 16 1/8 in. 1994

From the Collection of Kaare Berntsen, Oslo, Norway


Top:

Untitled

acrylic on canvas, 36 x 36 in., 1981 Right:

Untitled

acrylic on canvas, 9 x 8 in., 1994


Top:

Untitled

acrylic on canvas, 36 x 60 in., 1986 Left:

Untitled

acrylic on canvas, 9 x 8 1/8 in., 1994


Untitled acrylic on canvas 30 x 30 in. 1994

From the Collection of Kaare Berntsen, Oslo, Norway


Untitled acrylic on canvas 17 x 30 in. 1994

From the Collection of Kaare Berntsen, Oslo, Norway


Untitled acrylic on canvas 17 x 30 in. 1994

From the Collection of Kaare Berntsen, Oslo, Norway


Untitled acrylic on paper on board 21 x 25 3/4 in. 1994

From the Collection of Kaare Berntsen, Oslo, Norway


Left:

Untitled

acrylic on canvas, 24 x 15 in., 1994

From the Collection of Kaare Berntsen, Oslo, Norway Center:

Untitled

acrylic on canvas, 24 x 15 in., 1994

From the Collection of Kaare Berntsen, Oslo, Norway Right:

Untitled

acrylic on canvas, 24 x 15 in., 1994

From the Collection of Kaare Berntsen, Oslo, Norway


Untitled acrylic on paper on board 24 x 19 3/4 in. 1994

From the Collection of Kaare Berntsen, Oslo, Norway


Top:

Untitled

acrylic on paper on board, 15 x 18 in., 1994 From the Collection of Kaare Berntsen, Oslo, Norway Rightt:

Untitled

acrylic on paper on board, 17 7/8 x 15 in., 1994 From the Collection of Kaare Berntsen, Oslo, Norway


Top:

Untitled

acrylic on paper on board, 15 x 18 in., 1994 From the Collection of Kaare Berntsen, Oslo, Norway Left:

Untitled

acrylic on paper on board, 17 7/8 x 15 in., 1994 From the Collection of Kaare Berntsen, Oslo, Norway


Untitled acrylic on canvas 18 x 22 1/8 in. 1994

From the Collection of Kaare Berntsen, Oslo, Norway


Untitled acrylic on canvas 14 x 18 in. 1994

From the Collection of Kaare Berntsen, Oslo, Norway


Untitled acrylic on paper on board 12 1/2 x 16 1/4 in. 1994

From the Collection of Kaare Berntsen, Oslo, Norway


Untitled acrylic on paper on board 12 1/2 x 16 1/8 in. 1994

From the Collection of Kaare Berntsen, Oslo, Norway


Untitled acrylic on canvas 12 1/2 x 16 1/4 in. 1994

From the Collection of Kaare Berntsen, Oslo, Norway


“these paintings approach you where you are” —Sam Francis


Sam Francis in Broadway studio, Santa Monica, 1983

Sam Francis Foundation, California / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Photo by Micheal Childers


Artwork Š 2018 Sam Francis Foundation, California / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


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Sam Francis exhibition catalog - draft  

Sam Francis exhibition catalog - draft