Sam Francis (1923-1994)
Sam Francis (1923-1994)
Sam Francis (1923-1994)
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On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… Read more The Collection of Morton and Barbara Mandel, sold to benefit the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation
Sam Francis (1923-1994)

Untitled

Details
Sam Francis (1923-1994)
Untitled
signed 'Sam Francis' (on the reverse)
acrylic on canvas
72 x 24 in. (182.9 x 61 cm.)
Painted in 1986.
Provenance
André Emmerich Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the late owners, 1987
Literature
Sam Francis: Remembering 1923-1994, exh. cat., Amsterdam, Gallery Delaive, 2004, pp. 96 and 112 (illustrated).
Sam Francis: Retrospective in Blue, exh. cat., Bratislava, Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum, 2010, p. 272 (illustrated).
D. Burchett-Lere, ed., Sam Francis: Catalogue Raisonné of Canvas and Panel Paintings, 1946–1994, DVD I, Berkeley, 2011, no. SFF.1344 (illustrated).
Exhibited
New York, André Emmerich Gallery, Sam Francis: New Paintings, April-May 1987.
Special notice

On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the sale of certain lots consigned for sale. This will usually be where it has guaranteed to the Seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the Seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee. This is such a lot.

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Emily Kaplan
Emily Kaplan

Lot Essay

"Manner, gesture, sound, line, and color – in these we have a primitive, pure, and direct means of expression." — Sam Francis

Arcs of brilliant blues and reds sweep across the expanse of Sam Francis’ Untitled, 1986. The beauty of diluted acrylic painting on the surface of the canvas renders the similarity of the aesthetic of watercolor paintings, granting Untitled a lightness and dreamlike touch. The patches of color resemble the images of Rorschach and evoke the poetics of reverie like the colors Marc Chagall used to stock up to in his surrealist paintings. It is a vibrant example of Francis’ unrivaled understanding of color and ways in which paint can be manipulated and maneuvered to evoke a sense of lyrical poetry and emotion.    

Zen Buddhism strongly influenced the oeuvre of Sam Francis as it portrays a sense of airiness and inviting to the act of contemplation; “Francis was transported into the ether through his work” (K. McKenna, “Sam Francis: A Force of Nature,” Los Angeles Times, 18 August 1996). On equal terms, the drippings presented in Untitled, 1986 add material weight to the composition and unveil the influence Jackson Pollock had on Sam Francis’s work.

Sam Francis was, and still is, one of the most significant painters of Abstract Expressionism, The unicity and color-palette of his paintings is what makes his work so desired. As he once said, “Color is a series of harmonies, everywhere in the universe being divine, whole numbers lasting forever, adrift in time…”. — Sam Francis. (S. Francis quoted in K. McKenna, “Sam Francis: A Force of Nature,” Los Angeles Times, 18 August 1996).

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