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.

Helen Frankenthaler’s Reflections.

Helen Frankenthaler- Works on Paper- Zane Bennett Contemporary Arts- Santa Fe New Mexico

“A really good picture looks as if it has happened at once,” said Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011). “It’s an immediate image.” The West Coast artist developed an entire painting technique around this idea. By thinning her oils with turpentine or water and splashing them across canvases, she created abstract images that possessed the immediacy she was after. Famed art critic Clement Greenberg heralded her “soak-stain” compositions as the next step in abstract expressionism’s evolution, after Jackson Pollock’s breakthrough drip paintings rocked the world.

“When Greenberg brought the abstract painters Kenneth Noland and Morris Louis to Frankenthaler’s studio in 1953, they seized upon both her technique and the broad, flat expanses of color she created,” writes Jon Mann for Artsy. “Greenberg was quick to… highlight a second impulse and aesthetic in Abstract Expressionism—Color Field Painting—of which Frankenthaler would be a leading exponent for over a decade.” Frankenthaler’s lithograph Reflections X exemplifies the flowing, lyrical nature of her best paintings. It’s from her Reflections series, 12 lithographs that she made with Tyler Graphics in 1995. Scroll down to see the new piece, and two other prints from the Zane Bennett Contemporary collection.

Helen Frankenthaler- Reflections X- Series Lithograph- Zane Bennett Contemporary Art

Helen Frankenthaler
Reflections X
lithograph
14.75 x 11.75 in.

Helen Frankenthaler- Yellow Jack- Lithograph- Zane Bennett Contemporary Art

Helen Frankenthaler
Yellow Jack
lithograph
30 x 38 in
1987

Helen Frankenthaler
The Clearing
woodcut
16.75 x 21 in

Click here to learn more about artwork by Helen Frankenthaler in the Zane Bennett Contemporary Collection.