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About the Work
Untitled, 1980 (SF80-107)
acrylic on paper
image size: 12 x 17.75
signed and dated "Sam Francis 1980" on the reverse
Palo Alto, Smith Anderson Gallery, May 1 - June 13, 1980
This work is identified with the archival identification number SF80-107 in consideration for the forthcoming Sam Francis: Catalogue Raisonné of Unique Works on Paper. This information is subject to change as scholarship continues by the Sam Francis Foundation.
Francis during the 1970’s was absorbed in the attention to grids and cross-weaves in his art. At times, these grids were dark and heavy, the black underlying lattice dominant, regardless of the infused bursts of contrasting colors. These colors would follow along the black grid they were laid upon, and would not deviate from the path. In this late ‘grid’ painting, Untitled, 1980 (SF80-107)’s distinct use of color marks this work as a turning point in his œuvre. The black grid is disappearing in this work, either not completed at all or heavily painted over by the purple, blue, teal, hot pink and red organic color forms.
About the Artist
Born in Northern California in 1923, Sam Francis briefly attended the University of California at Berkeley before leaving to join the Army Air Corps in 1943. While in military service, he suffered injuries that led to spinal tuberculosis, requiring a long recuperation. During this period, he began to paint. In the late 1940s, Francis began to study at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute) and to work with fellow painter, David Parks. A short time later, he returned to UC Berkeley to study both painting and art history, eventually earning bachelor's and master's degrees. The artist's desire to explore his art led him to Paris in the early '50s, and it was here that his professional career as an artist truly began. Soon after arriving in Europe, he began to travel extensively, living working and exhibiting in Paris, Tokyo, Switzerland and eventually, the United States. In 1962, Francis settled in Southern California.