Sam Francis: Works on Paper from the Sixties

Brian Gross Fine Art announces an exhibition of early works on paper by the late, internationally acclaimed, American abstract painter Sam Francis, from October 25 to December 1. The exhibition opens with a reception on Thursday, November 1 from 5:30-7:30pm.

Presented in collaboration with the Sam Francis Estate, the exhibition represents a collection of rare and seldom seen works by this important contemporary painter, with emphasis the 1960's through the early 1970's. With its sensitivity to sensuous colour and light, Francis's early work showed different concerns from the expressive iconography of Abstract Expressionism. From the beginning, his paintings related to the organic forms of Clyfford Still and the atmospheric color veils of Mark Rothko. The exhibition at Brian Gross, exemplifies the early period of the artist’s career by showcasing several acrylic and gouache works on paper from his celebrated 1960's Blue Ball series, as well as other works and paintings ranging from the 1950's through the early 1970's.

A California native, Sam Francis was born in San Mateo, CA, in 1923 and died in Santa Monica, CA, on November 4, 1994. He began to paint in 1944, while hospitalized from an accident leading to spinal tuberculosis while serving in the US Army Air Corps. Initially a medical student, Francis started studying art first under the private tutelage of David Park in 1947 and completed his BA (1949) and MA (1950) at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1969 he received an honorary Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. Over the years Francis worked for long periods of time in studios in Paris, New York, and Tokyo while traveling back and forth to his primary residences in Santa Monica, Palo Alto, and Pt. Reyes, California. His works are represented in numerous public and private collections throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan including: the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Louisiana Museum of Art, Denmark; the Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Idemitsu Museum of Art, Tokyo and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

The most recent retrospective exhibition on the artist's work, SAM FRANCIS: PAINTINGS 1947-1990, was organized by The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and curated by William C. Agee. From 1999 through January 2001 the retrospective traveled to the Menil Collection, Houston, Texas; Malmo Konsthall, Malmo, Sweden; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain and Galleria Communale d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Rome, Italy.