Sam Francis

/Works and biography


Untitled, ca. 1958
Watercolor on paper, mounted on canvas, 76.2 x 56.5 cm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Hannelore B. and Rudolph B. Schulhof Collection, bequest of Hannelore B. Schulhof, 2012
© Sam Francis Foundation, California by SIAE 2012


Francis turned to art as a form of therapy when recovering from a spinal injury in hospital after a plane crash during his training in the U.S. Air Force. While embracing the animated and intuitive visual idiom of Abstract Expressionism, he achieved an expressive individuality by emphasizing the sensuous, even hedonistic, qualities of colors and their interplay with light and space. In 1957 he visited Japan for the first time: reductive Eastern aesthetics of asymmetrical shapes and blank space entranced him and led him to abstract compositions such as this. The saturated palette and ever-changing forms evoke a highly-charged emotive experience, perhaps alluding to the triumph of life over illness or death.

credits: Hangar Design Group