Sam Francis: Works from the 1950s on paper and canvas
November 3 – December 15, 2012
Gallery Delaive is proud to announce Sam Francis: Works from the 1950s on paper
and canvas. Sam Francis’ (1923-1994) career spanned approximately 50 years and
includes a staggering amount of paintings, drawings and prints. Influenced by
Abstract Expressionism and the works of Clyfford Still and Jackson Pollock, Francis
developed a unique style characterized by his sensitivity to light and the use of space
on the canvas to allow free circulation of strong color. This exhibition will present a
selection of works on paper and canvas from Sam Francis’ European decade in the
‘50s, pivotal in the development of Francis’ distinctive style and true icons of Post-
War American painting.
Sam Francis, eager to submerge himself in the European art scene, moved to Paris in
the summer of 1950 after finishing his Master of Arts at the University of California.
In Paris he met French painter Jean-Paul Riopelle who had a great influence on
Francis’ work and enjoyed the company of American painters like Al Held, Ruth
Francken and Norman Bluhm. In 1952 he had his first exhibition in Europe at the
Galerie du Dragon. Following the succes of this show he then was invited to
participate in the major shows “Signifiants de l’informel” (1952) and “Un art Autre”
(1953). He continued to develop the use of white space and increased the dimensions
of his paintings for greater emphasis. He became associated with Tachisme and study
of Monet's Waterlilies had a profound impact on his work. From a very muted palette
of greys and whites he returned to the qualities of light and colour.
After five years in Paris Sam Francis had succesfull shows all over Europe, propelling
him to international acclaim. After he was featured in the 1956 exhibit at the Museum
of Modern Art, “Twelve Americans,” Time magazine deemed him “the hottest young
painter in Paris.” During his Paris years Francis made entirely monochromatic works,
large oil paintings with splashed or splattered areas of bright contrasting color, with
areas of white canvas left to show through and also small and intimate paintings on
paper. Francis enjoyed the properties of paper for allowing him to fully explore a
color’s potential. During his period in Europe he executed a number of monumental
mural paintings for the Kunsthalle (Basel) in 1956-8 and for the Chase Manhattan
Bank (New York) in 1959.
For more information please contact Gallery Delaive at + 31 20 6221295 or