Sam Francis, ‘Untitled (#2 Pri-Rain) (SF64-592)’, 1964, Bernard Jacobson Gallery

Resisting the zeitgeist of the 1960s, Francis never developed a signature style. His work was often experimental and focused on the exploration of new possibilities, in keeping with his belief that we inhabit a constant state of becoming and change. This is embodied in many of his works from the 1950s and 60s, when Francis begins to explore the phenomenon of the ‘Empty Center’. According to Agee “the white spaces become like windows through which we can view another space altogether, the space on infinity”. In his evocation of infinity, that which lies beyond, often in tandem with his emptying out of the paintings center, Francis defines the viewer’s aesthetic experience as inward looking as well as a consideration of what lies beyond sight. At the same time, by locating the visible and invisible on a spectrum spanning from on to the other, Francis transforms the act of looking into a form of meditation. This way of looking and thinking, which is integral to Zen Buddhism, is an essential component of Francis’ art. He wants to help viewers acknowledge the vast endlessness they inhabit, while accepting the transitory nature of life.

Signature: Signed and dated on verso in ballpoint pen and ink: Sam Francis 1964; also inscribed on verso (by unknown hand) in ballpoint pen and ink: #2

Los Angeles, Jonathan Novak Contemporary Art, 'Color', 2 March - 11 April 2014

Sam Francis: Opere scelte - Selected works 1956-1991, Galleria Repetto, pp. 20-21, colour illustration
Yau, John, Sam Francis, London, Bernard Jacobson Gallery, 2014. Illustrated in colour p. 30

Joseph H. Hirshhorn, New York and Washington, D.C. June 19, 1967-August 31, 1981)
Estate of Joseph H. Hirshhorn (1981-1986)
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D. C. (1981) (The Joseph H. Hirshhorn Bequest, 86.1874)
Barish Family Collection (1998) (through Sotheby's, New York, May 12 2014, Lot No. 147)
Private Collection, Italy
Galleria Repetto, Italy
Jonathan Novak Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

About Sam Francis

The painterly abstraction of Sam Francis is most often associated with the American Abstract Expressionist movement, but Francis also spent a great deal of time in Paris and became linked with the parallel movement of Art Informel in Europe. Francis’ most iconic works are characterized by saturated splashes of color that populate the edges of the canvas in order to emphasize the luminous white void in the center. This contrast between the vibrancy of Francis’ color palette and the austere white picture plane demonstrate the artist’s concern with relationships of space, color, and light, as opposed to the psychologically expressive tendencies of contemporaries such as Jackson Pollock.

American, 1923-1994, San Mateo, California, based in Paris and Santa Monica, California