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Samuel Francis

Born in: 1923

United States


Sam Francis was born on June 25, 1923 in San Mateo, California and died on November 4, 1994 in Santa Monica.

Sam Francis studied botany, and the psychology at Berkley.

He was a pilot of the US Air Force and in World War II, when his plane crashed and he suffered a serious spine injury. He is forced to stay in a hospital bed for fours years. This is when he receives a watercolor set and he starts to paint the sky, the clouds and perceptions of light.

In 1946 and 1947 he is still convalescent, but stays with an artistic community, and later on moves with his father. He marries Vera Miller, a childhood friend. After his recovery, Sam Francis studies art at the University of California, between 1948 and 1950.

In 1950, he divorces Vera Miller and moves to Paris with Muriel Goodwin. He stays in France until 1961. He is deeply touched by the work of Monet and Bonnard. He has his first solo show in Paris in 1952, an the Galerie du Dragon.

In 1957 and 1958 he starts to travel around the world and visits the United States, Mexico and Japan. He meets the painter Teruko Yokoi, who becomes his third wife.

Sam Francis works with white backgrounds on which he applies paint stains that drip, surround or free the open space. Marked by the use of color, his painting language is defined by a great creative energy, revealed by colored stains that modulate the space and the surface.

Later on in his career, Sam Francis plays with colors more and more; he covers his canvases, drawings and monotypes in color without worrying about formal issues (these are his ?Instant Paintings?).

Color is the "real substance for me, the real underlying thing which drawing and painting are not ... colors are intensities". (Sam Francis)

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  • American Artist

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