Sam Francis in Winter.

Sam Francis- Artist Portrait- Photo by Meibao D. Nee.- Zane Bennett Contemporary Art

“Ideas hang around images like shadows,” said Sam Francis (1923-1994). “The space at the center of these paintings is reserved for you.”  The quote seems particularly apt when it comes to the abstract expressionist’s aquatint “The Five Continents in Wintertime.” Francis employs his idiosyncratic drips and splatters, but pulls back his typically vibrant palette to reflect the purple, blue and brown tones of bare branches set against winter skies. Between these cool winter “shadows,” a field of snowy white paper shows through.

Francis was born in San Mateo, California. He was initially influenced by the work of abstract expressionists such as Mark Rothko, Arshile Gorky and Clyfford Still. While living in Paris in the 1950’s, he became associated with Tachisme. Tachisme was a reaction to cubism and is characterized by spontaneous brushwork, drips and blobs of paint straight from the tube, and sometimes scribbling reminiscent of calligraphy. Francis spent his time in Paris executing entirely monochromatic works, but his mature pieces are generally large oil paintings with splashed or splattered areas of bright contrasting color. Areas of white canvas are often left to show through, and in later works, paint is sometimes confined to the edges of the canvas. Scroll down to view “The Five Continents in Wintertime” and other works by Sam Francis.

Image: Meibao D. Nee.

Sam Francis- The Five Continents in Wintertime- Zane Bennett Contemporary Art- Santa Fe New Mexico

Sam Francis
The Five Continents in Wintertime
aquatint, 23.75in x 48.75in
1984

Sam Francis- Color Lithograph- Zane Bennett Contemporary Art- Santa Fe New Mexico

Sam Francis
Untitled
color lithograph, 30 x 20 in.
1968

Sam Francis
Untitled #5, from Pasadena Box
lithograph, 11 x 15 in.
1963

Click here to browse the complete Zane Bennett Contemporary collection.