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    Sale 7603

    Post-War & Contemporary Art Day Sale (Morning)

    1 July 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 168

    Sam Francis (1923-1994)

    When White

    Price Realised  


    Sam Francis (1923-1994)
    When White
    oil on canvas
    98 x 76in. (248.9 x 193.1cm.)
    Painted in 1963-64

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    This work will be included in the forthcoming Sam Francis Catalogue Raisonné edited by Debra Burchett-Lere and published by the University of California Press, and is registered with the Sam Francis Foundation as archive number SFP63-19.

    Despite Sam Francis's roots as an American Abstract Expressionist, his interest in the French masters of colour such as Claude Monet, Henry Matisse and Pierre Bonnard informed much of his works. Francis once confessed being "intoxicated" with light, "not just the play of light and shadow, but the substance of which light is made" (S. Francis, quoted in Sam Francis, exh. cat., Bufalo, 1972, p. 16).

    In the present work, painted after he had returned to California in the early sixties, "the visionary sense of time and space is evident ... in many ways, the most notable of which is his understanding and respect for the void. His voids are important as his marks. Rich with application, they will hang full and silent, sometimes in our present awareness, often in the future, and always imbued with the past. One senses that he is comfortable with silence. Writing about Pierre Bonnard ...…), Francis said:"'He reminds me that silence and arrest = ecstasy" (J. Butterfield, Sam Francis, exh. cat., Los Angeles, March-May 1980, p. 7).

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium


    Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York.
    Andr Emmerich Gallery, New York.
    Private Collection.
    Martha Jackson Gallery, New York.
    Monique and Foster Goldstrom sale, Christie's New York, 9 November 1999, lot 550.
    Anon. sale, Christie's New York, 12 November 2003, lot 323.
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.

    Pre-Lot Text



    D. Ashton, Modern American Painting, New York 1970 (illustrated in colour, pl. 21).
    P. Selz, Sam Francis, New York 1982 (illustrated in colour, pp. 89-92, pl. 4).
    J.F. Lyotard, Lessons of Darkness, Santa Barbara, 1993 (illustrated in colour).
    Sam Francis: Les Années Parisiennes, 1950-1961, exh. cat., Paris, Galerie National du Jeu du Paume, 1995 (illustrated, p. 199).


    Bern, Kornfeld et Klipstein, Sam Francis, Werke 1960-1961, September-October 1966.
    New York, Pierre Matisse Gallery, Sam Francis Oil Paintings 1962-1966, February-March 1967 (illustrated, p. 12).
    Montclair, The Montclair Art Museum, Abstract Expressionism: The Recent Years, April-May 1970.
    New York, Martha Jackson Gallery, Sam Francis Paintings 1952-1970, From The Gallery's Collection, November 1970.
    Buffalo, Albright Knox Art Gallery, Sam Francis Paintings: 1947-1972, September 1972-March 1973, no. 56 (illustrated in colour, p. 86). This exhibition later travelled to Washington D.C., The Corcoran Gallery of Art; New York, The Whitney Museum of American Art and Dallas, Museum of Fine Arts.
    College Park, University of Maryland Art Gallery, The Private Collection of Martha Jackson, June 1973-February 1974, no. 25 (illustrated). This exhibition later travelled to New York, The Finch College Museum of Art and Buffalo, Albright Knox Art Gallery.
    Dallas, Foster Goldstrom, Inc., Icons of Contemporary Art, 1983 (illustrated, p. 10).
    Davenport, Davenport Museum of Art, Contemporary Icons and Explorations, The Goldstrom Family Collection, April 1989-March 1992, no. 21, pp. 9 and 43. This exhibition later travelled to Wichita, Wichita Art Museum; Vero Beach, Center for the Arts; Little Rock, Arkansas Art Center; Scottsdale, Scottsdale Center for the Arts; Charlotte, Mint Museum of Art; Charleston, Sunrise Museums; Binghamton, Roberson Center for the Arts & Sciences; Chattanooga, Hunter Museum of Art; Peoria, Lakeview Museum of Arts & Sciences; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Art Center; Jackson, Mississippi Museum of Art; Memphis, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art; Birmingham, Museum of Art and Berkeley, The University of California, Behring Museum.
    Vienna, BAWAG Foundation, Amerikanische Kunst aus Der Sammlung Goldstrum New York, November-December 1994, no. 21 (illustrated, p. 14).
    Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sam Francis: Paintings 1947-1990, March-July 1999 (illustrated in colour, p. 106, pl. 53). This exhibition later travelled to Houston, The Menil Collection, September 1999-January 2000, Malm, Konsthall Malm, January-May 2000, Madrid, Museo Natioal Centro de Arte Reina Sofa, June-August 2000 and Rome, Galleria Comunale d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, October 2000-January 2001.