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Sam Francis (American, 1923–1994)
LOT ID: 81221
Untitled (SF 64-173), 1966

Gouache, on Paper
40.5 х 27.5 in. (102.87 x 69.85 cm.)
Signed, and inscribed "Sam Francis 1966 Tokyo", verso.
Lot description
Artwork measures 40.5 x 27.5 inches (102.9 x 69.8 cm). Framed dimensions approximate.

Executed in 1964, this work by Sam Francis is representative of the artist's iconic exploration of abstraction through rich, saturated color and gestural form. In the work, jewel-toned brushstrokes and splashes populate the edge of the paper, throwing in relief the luminous white void at the center. Evincing Francis's unmistakeable sense of movement and light, "Untitled (SFE 64-173)" is a mid-career work from one of America's leading Abstract Expressionist painters.

Sam Francis (American, 1923–1994) was an Abstract Expressionist painter and lithographer known for his exuberant use of color. Born in San Mateo, CA, Francis studied art at the University of California, Berkeley after serving in the air force during World War II. His first works were influenced by the work of Mark Rothko, Arshile Gorky, and Clyfford Still, but he soon developed his own colorful abstract style after moving to Paris in 1950. Francis lived in Europe for several years, where he became associated with the French Expressionist “Taschisme” movement, thus establishing himself abroad before he gained recognition in his own country. His Parisian output shifted from monochromes executed with wiggling, biomorphic brush strokes to his “Blue Ball” series, which features large, amorphous circles of blue paint. Inspired by the art and philosophy he encountered during his later travels to Japan, Francis became fascinated with empty space and created many paintings with a central white void of unpainted canvas or untouched areas. He also executed a series of large murals, mainly in watercolor, which he worked on intermittently from the late 1950s until his death in Santa Monica in 1994.

Selected Public Collections:
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, CA
Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
Tate Gallery, London, England
Walker Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN
Untitled (SF 64-173) by Sam Francis
  • Untitled (SF 64-173) by Sam Francis
  • Untitled (SF 64-173) by Sam Francis
  • Untitled (SF 64-173) by Sam Francis
  • Untitled (SF 64-173) by Sam Francis
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Sales Results for Comparable Works

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    Composition no. 6
    (H 26.6, W 39.8) in.
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    Sold for: US$118,604
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