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Sam Francis Biography


Sam Francis produced many prints, his first prints being created in the late 1960s. Most of Sam Francis’ prints were lithography prints. All of Sam Francis prints are original prints as Francis saw printmaking as a distinct medium to create artworks.

American printmaker and painter Sam Francis is known for his works which could be categorised under post-painterly abstraction. His works encourage contemplation through his loose brush strokes and drips, like that of his contemporaries Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock. Yet his colour palette radiates an affinity with Japanese abstract art through his saturated colour fields.

Born and raised in California, light was always of interest to Francis, and thus his work shows this fascination through painting different ways in which various ambiances of light hit the canvas. While some may look at his works and consider them to be highly spontaneous, in actuality his work is rather systematic and laborious.

While his early works cover the majority of the canvas, his later works explore the Oriental ideas of negative space. Yet what is most intriguing is that while a vast number of his works overall are untitled, his works that are titled often make references to situations involving some form of light, such as Stone Cloud and The Star (L’Etoile).

One of Francis’ most important contributions was the establishment of his own print shop, started with a lithography printing press acquired when the Tamarind Workshop relocated from Los Angeles to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1967 with Francis picking up a group of full time printers. When working on his prints Francis said: “I am the paper, I am the paint, I am the machine”.

Read the Blog: Sam Francis Artist Quotes.

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