Sam Francis (américain, né le 25 juin 1923 à San Mateo – décédé le 4 novembre 1994 à Santa Monica) est un peintre expressionniste abstrait et un lithographe, connu pour son utilisation exubérante de couleurs. Né en Californie, il étudie l’art à l’université de Californie, après avoir servi dans l’armée durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale.

Ses premières œuvres sont influencées par l’expressionnisme abstrait de Mark Rothko, Arshile Gorky et Clyfford Still, mais il développe rapidement son propre style abstrait et plein de couleurs après son installation à Paris dans les années 1950. Francis vit en Europe pendant plusieurs années, où il se rapproche du Tachisme, mouvement expressionniste français ; il devient célèbre à l’étranger avant de l’être dans son propre pays. Ses créations parisiennes passent de monochromes réalisés à l’aide de coups de pinceaux vifs à sa série intitulée Blue Ball, qui représente de grands cercles de peinture bleue. Inspiré par l’art et la philosophie qu’il apprend pendant ses voyages au Japon, Francis se fascine pour l’espace vide et crée de nombreuses toiles dont le centre est blanc et les contours sont des lignes ou des formes colorées. Il réalise également une série de fresques murales, la plupart en aquarelles, sur lesquelles il travaille par intermittence à partir de la fin des années 1950 jusqu’à sa mort à Santa Monica en 1994.

Chronologie

1923
Born in San Mateo, CA
1943 – 1948
Served in the United States Army Corps and began painting while convalescing from an injury
1949
BA, University of California, Berkeley, CA
1946 – 1950
Began painting in San Francisco, CA
1950
M.A. University of California, Berkeley, CA
1950 – 1958
Lived and worked in Paris, France with travels to Mexico, Japan, and Europe
1959
Lived in New York, NY
1959 – 1961
Lived in Bern, Switzerland
1961
Established permanent home in Santa Monica, CA
1968
Received honorary PhD from University of California, Berkeley, CA
1970
Established the Litho Shop to print his own lithographs in Santa Monica, CA
1973 – 1974
Lived and painted primarily in Tokyo, Japan
1975 – 1977
Began collaborating with Garner Tullis on monotypes at the Institute of Experimental Printing, San Francisco, CA
1981
Appointed Commandeur de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, by the French Ministry of Culture
1984
Established Lapis Press to publish artists' books
1987 – 1989
Founded the Sam Francis Medical Research Center to support the research of infectious and environmental diseases
1993
Donated ten major paintings to The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA
1994
Honoured with Distinguished Alumnus Award by the University Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley, which also then created the Sam Francis Scholarship, Berkeley, CA
1994
Died in Santa Monica, CA

Expositions

2013 – 2014
Sam Francis: Five Decades of Abstract Experssionism from California Collections, Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, USA (solo)
2013
Renard Collection, Fondation Beijeler, Basel, Switzerland
2012
Sam Francis: Works from the 1950s on paper and canvas, Gallery Delaive, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Pasadena to Santa Barbara: A Selected History of Art in Southern California, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, USA
Sam Francis, Galerie Iris Wazzau, Davos, Switzerland
2011
Sam Francis The exploration of color, Sotheby's (S2) New York, USA (solo)
Sam Francis, Guy Pieters Gallery, Paris, France (solo)
Sam Francis: Paintings from the Catalogue Raisonné, Gallery Delaive, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (solo)
Sam Francis, Galerie Iris Wazzau, Davos, Switzerland (solo)
2009
Time & Place: Los Angeles, 1958-1968, Kunsthaus Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Sam Francis - Malerei und Grafik, Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie, Bielefeld, Germany
2008
Choices, Galerie Willy Schoots, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Action Painting, Foundation Beyeler, Riehen, Switzerland
Time & Place: Los Angeles, 1958-1968, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden
2007
Grand Gestures: The Gordon F. Hampton Collection, University Art Museum, Long Beach, USA
Art Market Now, The Columns, Seoul, South Korea
2006
Afro & incotri e Confronti italia America, Gallerie d'Arte Moderna di Udine GAMUD, Udine, Italy
Zeitschnitt, Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie, Bielefeld, Germany
2005
Intuitive Reflection, Art Forum Ute Barth, Zurich, Switzerland
Austrian Contemporary Art and Postwar Painting, Museo de Art Contemporaneo de Monrerrey MARCO, Monterrey, Mexico
2004
Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie, Bielefeld, Germany
Galerie Delaive, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Baukunst Galerie, Cologne, Germany
2003
Special Proofs: 1963-1989, Timothy Yarger Fine Art, Beverly Hills, USA
Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan
Iwaki City Art, Fukushima, Japan
Oita Art Museum, Oita, Japan
Galerie Iris Wazzau, Davos, Switzerland
2002
Galerie Andreas Baumgarti, Munich, Germany
Lovers Fine Arts, Gstaad, Switzerland
Museum of Modern Art, Toyama, Japan
Kawamura Memorial Museum, Chiba, Japan
Museum of Art, Eime, Japan
University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, USA
1999 – 2001
Sam Francis: Paintings 1947-1990, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, USA; travelled to Menil Collection, Houston, USA; Malmo Konsthall, Malmo, Sweden; the Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain; Galleria Comunale d'Art Moderna e Contemporanea, Rome, Italy (solo)
2000
Lawrence Rubin, Greenberg, Van Doren Fine Art, New York, USA
Galerie Delaive, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Richard Gray Gallery, New York and Chicago, USA
Idemitsu Museum of Arts, Tokyo and Osaka, Japan
1999
Retrospective: Sam Francis: Paintings 1947-1990, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, USA (solo)
Leslie Sacks Fine Art, Los Angeles, USA; Robert Green Fine Arts, Mill Valley, USA; Gallery Faurschou, Copenhagen, Denmark; Ikon Ltd., Los Angeles, USA; Manny Silverman Gallery, Los Angeles, USA; Galerie Pascal Retelet, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France; Galerie Jean Fournier, Paris, France; Baukunst Galerie, Cologne, Germany; Pace Editions, New York, USA; Galerie Loeper, Hamburg, Germany
1998
Dorothy Blau Gallery, Bal Harbour, USA; Thomas Segal Gallery, Baltimore, USA; ACA Galerie, Munich, Germany; Gallery Guy Pieters, Knokke, Belguim; Bobbie Greenfield Gallery, Los Angeles, USA; Gallery Delaive, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Galleria d’Arte il Gabbiano, Rome, Italy
1997
Sam Francis: The Archetypal Image, Frederick M. Weisman Museum of Art, Pepperdine University, Malibu, USA; travelled to The Fundación Caja de Madrid, Spain (solo)
André Emmerich Gallery, New York, USA; Manny Silverman Gallery, Los Angeles, USA; Museo d’Arte, Mendrisio, Switzerland; Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago, USA; Gallery Delaive, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Galerie Pascal Retelet, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France
1996
Smith-Andersen Gallery, Palo Alto, USA; Sogetsu Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan; Galerie Delaive, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Gagosian Gallery, Los Angeles, USA; Gallery Guy Pieters, Knokke, Belgium; Galerie Michael Haas, Berlin, Germany; Galerie Proarta, Zurich, Switzerland
1995
The Last Paintings of Sam Francis, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, USA (solo)
André Emmerich Gallery, New York, USA; Manny Silverman Gallery, Los Angeles, USA; Grunwald/UCLA/Armand Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA
Kunstverein Ludwigsburg, Ludwigsburg, Germany; Les Années Parisiennes 1950-1961 at the Galerie National du Jeu de Paume, Paris, France
1994
Long Fine Arts, New York, USA; Galerie Delaive, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Bobbie Greenfield Gallery, Los Angeles, USA; Galerie Jean Fournier, Paris, France; Galerie Proarta, Zurich, Switzerland; Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, USA; Nantenshi Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago, USA
1993
Retrospective exhibition at Kunst und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn, Germany (solo)
Galerie Pudelko, Bonn, Switzerland; Bobbie Greenfield Fine Art, Los Angeles, USA; Michele Cohen Gallery, New York, USA; Ochi Gallery, Ketchum, USA; Manny Silverman Gallery, Los Angels, USA; Galerie Iris Wazzau, Davos, Switzerland
1992
Galerie Daniel Papierski, Paris, France
Museum van der Togt, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Kukje Gallery, Seoul, South Korea
1991
Retrospective at Galerie Kornfeld, Bern, Switzerland (solo)
Galerie Jean Fournier, Paris, France; James Corcoran Gallery, Los Angeles, USA; Angles Gallery, Los Angeles, USA; Associated American Artists, New York, USA; Gagosian Gallery, New York, USA; Centre Régional d’Art Contemporain Midi-Pyrenées, France
1990
Associated American Artists, New York, USA; GalleryDelaive, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Heland Wetterling Gallery, Stockholm, Sweden; Ogawa Art Foundation, Tokyo, Japan; Ochi Gallery, Ketchum, USA; Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland; Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, USA; Smith-Andersen Gallery, Palo Alto, USA
1989
André Emmerich Gallery, New York, USA; Galerie Jean Fournier, Paris, France; Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London, England; Sun Valley Center Gallery, Ketchum, USA; Linda Farris Gallery, Seattle, USA; Cantor/Lemberg Gallery, Birmingham, USA; Knoedler Gallery, London, England
1988
Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, USA; Galerie Jean Fournier, Paris, France; Nantenshi Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; Smith-Andersen Gallery, Palo Alto, USA; Greenberg Gallery, St. Louis, USA; Galerie Seoul, South Korea
Travelling exhibition throughout Japan organized by The Museum of Modern Art, Toyama and Nantenshi Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
1987
Knoedler Gallery, London, England; Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, USA; Pamela Auchincloss Gallery, Santa Barbara, USA; Heland Thorden Wetterling Galleries, Stockholm, Sweden; G. Dalsheimer Gallery, Baltimore, USA; Galeria Eude, Barcelona, Spain; Manny Silverman Gallery, Los Angeles, USA; Galerie Pudelko, Bonn, Germany; Lever/Meyerson Galleries, New York, USA
1986
Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, USA; Galerie Jean Fournier, Paris, France; Nantenshi Gallery, Toyko, Japan; Angles Gallery, Santa Monica, USA; La Mairie de Paris, Paris, France
1985
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Galerie Kornfeld, Bern, Switzerland; Galerie Jean Fournier, Paris, France; Nantenshi Gallery, Toyko, Japan; Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago, USA; Smith-Andersen Gallery, Palo Alto, USA; Hokin Gallery, West Palm Beach, USA
1984
André Emmerich Gallery, New York, USA; Pamela Auchincloss Gallery, Santa Barbara, USA; Brooke Alexander, Inc., New York, USA; Cantor/Lemberg Gallery, Birmingham, USA; Robert Elkon Gallery, New York, USA; Thomas Babeor Gallery, La Jolla, USA; Knoedler Gallery, London, England; Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles, USA; Steven Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco, USA
1983
Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, USA; Galerie Kornfeld, Bern, Switzerland; Smith-Andersen Gallery, Palo Alto, USA; Foundation Maeght, Saint Paul de Vence, France; Studio Marconi, Milan, Italy; Colorado State University, Fort Collins, USA; Galerie Jean Fournier, Paris, France; Art Attack Gallery, Boise, USA; John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, USA; Nantenshi Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
1982
Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, USA; Nantenshi Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago, USA
1981
Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, USA; Ace Gallery, Los Angeles, USA; Ruth Schaffner Gallery, Santa Barbara, USA; Faith and Charity in Hope Gallery, Hope, USA
1980
Riko Mizuno Gallery, Los Angeles, USA; James Corcoran Gallery, Los Angeles, USA; Smith-Andersen Gallery, Palo Alto, USA; Abbaye de Senanque, Gordes, France; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, USA
1979
Retrospective of works on paper at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, USA – traveled to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Manila, Korea and Japan under the US International Communications Agency
Galerie Jean Fournier, Paris, France; Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, USA; Brooke Alexander, Inc., New York, USA; Art in Progress at Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel
Gallery of the Cultural Center of the Phillippines, Taipei, Taiwan
1978
Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Los Angeles, USA; Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles, USA; Musee National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
1977
Art in Progress at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark
Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
Galerie Jean Fournier, Paris, France
Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, USA
Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago, USA
Galerie Kornfeld und Klipstein, Bern, Switzerland
Smith-Andersen Gallery, Palo Alto, USA
1974
Minami Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
Idemitsu Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan
1972
Sam Francis: Retrospective, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, USA – traveled to Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas; Oakland Museum of Art, Oakland, USA
Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, USA
Felix Landau Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
André Emmerich Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Los Angeles, USA (solo)
1968
Centre National d'Art Contemporain, Paris, France (solo)
Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland (solo)
Minami Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
1967
Sam Francis: Retrospective, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA – traveled to University Art Museum, Berkeley, USA; San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, USA (solo)
Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, USA
Snow painting performance in Naibara, Japan
1966
Sky painting performance over Tokyo Bay, Japan
1961 – 1964
Minami Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
Galerie Kornfeld an Klipstein, Bern, Switzerland
Galerie Benador, Zurich, Switzerland
Documenta III, useum Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany
1960 – 1961
Kunsthalle Bern, Bern, Switzerland (solo)
Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden (solo)
Esther Bear Gallery, Santa Barbara, USA
1959
Solo exhibition at Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, USA – traveled to San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, and Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, USA
1957 – 1958
Hyakkaten Department Store, Tokyo, Japan
Kintetsu Department Store, Osaka, Japan
The Phillips Gallery, Washington, D.C.
1957
Gimpel Fils, London, England
1956
Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, USA
Galerie Rive Droite, Paris, France
12 Americans, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
1955
Galerie Rive Droite, Paris, France
Tendances actuelles de l’Ecole de Paris III, Kunsthalle Bern, Bern, Switzerland
1952
Galerie du Dragon, Paris, France

Collections publiques

Brooklyn Museum, New York, NY
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
Tate Gallery, London, UK
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
Kunstmuseum Basel, Basel, Switzerland