Sam Francis

California-born painter Sam Francis (1923–1994) is regarded as one of the 20th century’s leading interpreters of light and color. He was known for his artistic language influenced by intuition and abstract expressionism, as well as Asian and French impressionism. This 1963 'Edge' painting is an important and iconic example of the artist's expression related to his focus on negative space and edges of color. He studied Jungian psychology and when asked why his 1960's Edge paintings had an emptiness, he answered, "The space at the center of these paintings is reserved for you." The characterization of saturated splashes of color in red, cobalt blue, blacks and greens that populate the edge of his work with a center of austere white, emphasize the relationship of void, color and light.

Francis’ career was influenced by the time he spent in Paris in the 1950s, where he became fascinated by the paintings of Monet and Matisse. For the next four decades he traveled and studied extensively, holding studios in Bern, Paris, Tokyo, Mexico City, New York and Northern and Southern California. His work holds multiple references to New York abstract expressionism, color field painting, Chinese and Japanese art, French impressionism, and his own California roots. Francis' paintings, works on paper and prints are luminous and immersive abstractions in lush, transparent colors.

Selected Museum Collections

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Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York City

Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD

Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, PA

Centre Pompidou-Musee National d'Art Moderne, Paris, France

Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, TX

Danubiana - Meulensteen Art Museum, Bratislava, Slovakia

Essl Museum, Vienna, Austria

Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco (De Young/Palace of the Legion of Honor), San Francisco, CA

Fondation Beyeler Museum, Basel, Switzerland

Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome, Italy

Joseph H. Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C.

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA

Idemitsu Museum of Arts, Japan

Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel

Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany

Kunstmuseum, Basel, Switzerland

Kunstmuseum, Hannover, Germany

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden

Musee d' Art Moderne de la Villa de Paris, Paris

Musee des Beaux-Arts de Montreal, Quebec

Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany

Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA

Museum of Modern Art, New York City

Museum of Modern Art, Seoul, South Korea

Museum of Modern Art, Shiga, Japan

Museum of Modern Art, Toyama, Japan

National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Museum van der Togt, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, CA

Ohara Museum of Art, Kurashiki, Japan

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA

Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City

Smithsonian Institution of American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.

Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, Germany

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

The New Tate Gallery, London, England

University of California, Berkeley, CA

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City

Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut

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