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  Sam Francis


       Sam Francis was born in San Mateo, California. He studied at the University of California and began painting in 1946, while recovering from spinal tuberculosis. From 1950 to 1958 he lived in Paris, and then spent time in New York, painting the Chase Manhattan mural. In 1961 he developed tuberculosis of the kidneys in Tokyo, recovered in Bern and then based himself in California.

        During his career he traveled extensively throughout Europe and Japan, always returning to his native California. He exhibited widely throughout the world, in New York with Martha Jackson, the Pierre Matisse and latterly with Andre Emmerich. In London he exhibited with Gimpel Fils and then with Bernard Jacobson Gallery.

     In 1990 he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He died on the 4th November 1994. His work is to be found in major museums and collections throughout the world. He is widely regarded as one of the most important representatives of Abstract Expressionism.

     Sometimes considered a second-generation Abstract Expressionist, Francis' work of the 1950's and 1960's was abstract, luminous and painterly rather than gestural. Influenced by the works of Mark Rothko and Clyfford Still, Francis' "signature" paintings of the early 1950's are overlays of serial but asymmetrical biomorphic forms saturated with color.

     In the mid-1950's, Francis began to paint fields of various sized clusters of cell-like shapes usually in blue, yellow, and red on a white ground. By the late 1950's Francis concentrated on large mural sized works dominated by white and bordered by colorful clusters of forms. This remained his vocabulary throughout his career but by the 1970's and 1980's a greater degree of structure emerged. In addition to monumental and easel-size paintings he produced a significant oeuvre of works on paper and prints.

Source: Cited from Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia with revisions.

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