Sam Francis American, 1923-1994

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Biography

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Sam Francis, an Abstract Expressionist painter, known for his brilliant coloration and splotch-like shapes, became one of the most well known modernist artists of the second half of the 20th century. He was much influenced by Clyfford Styll and Mark Rothko. Unlike many of the Abstract Expressionists and the Bay Area Figurative painters, his work was light and airy and increasingly decorative. 

 

 Francis was born in San Mateo, California, and earned his B.A. and M.A. Degrees from the University of California. For a period of time, Francis belonged to the Bay Area Abstract group that included Styll, Park, and Richard Diebenkorn. However in 1950, when his work was gaining national attention,  Francis left San Francisco to live in Paris, where he was heavily influenced by the French Impressionists and Post-Impressionists use of color. During this period, he began to create monochromatic works, where he would often allow the paint to trickle down from the canvas.

 

In 1962, he settled in Santa Monica, California, where he remained until his death in 1994.