Sam Francis (1923–1994) created paintings in extra-large formats with effusive use of color and a very open image structure, which in Europe come across as very American. His work is closely related to abstract expressionism, a movement that took off in the 1950s. Artists like Jackson Pollock, Barnett Newmann and Marc Rothko turned away from the European tradition of the painting concept in favor of a radical new method, creating abstract images in which not only the artwork itself, but also the process of creating the image stood at the forefront.
Sam Francis is immersed in this tradition and his works, which today can be found in the world’s most important museums, are the result of a very spontaneous, gestural painting process in which the composition is characterized by paint falling or splashed onto the canvas or paper. Francis also conveys this experimental method in his lithography and screen-printing editions, in which he constantly brings new color combinations onto the paper. These vibrantly colorful works are a sharp contrast to the mostly monochrome works of Francis’ contemporaries. This unique feature accentuates the artist’s work and to this day gives his pieces a contemporary feel.
“Painting is about the beauty of space and the power of containment.” – Sam Francis