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Sam Francis (American, 1923-1994)


Also known as:  Francis, Samuel Lewis

Birth Place: San Mateo (San Mateo county, California, United States)

Sam Francis was born in San Mateo, California in 1923. As an internationally renowned abstract expressionist of the 20th century, Francis maintained art studios in Paris, Tokyo, New York and Los Angeles. He is best known for his thousands of works on paper, including prints and monotypes, as well as for his vibrant and colorful paintings.

Francis served the United States during WWII enlisting in the Air Force, with his war injuries puttin him into the hospital for several years. During this time, he acquired a love of art and pursued a Bachelor's Degree in 1949 and his Master's Degree in 1950 from the University of California at Berkeley. His degrees were in the field of medicine, botany and psychology.

After receiving his Master's Degree, he spent most of the 1950's in Paris and realized his first exhibition in Paris in 1952. The next eight years Francis spent painting in Paris, south of France, Bern, New York, Mexico City and Tokyo. These years set the stage for his love of French modern painting, Zen Buddhism and Asian culture. Francis enjoyed New York expressionism in abstract, field painting Chinese and Japanese art, and French impressionism and color.

In these eight years, Francis expelled upon his paintings in stages that began with monochromatic abstractions. Following this, he did murals showing rich colors in addition to paintings with large areas of white known as open paintings. Around 1956 Francis grew to international prominence with his artwork exhibits at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, with his 1953 "Big Red" and "Twelve Artists".

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