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"Sam Francis: Works from the 1950s on paper and canvas" on view at Gallery Delaive
Sam Francis, Untitled. Gouache on paper, 69.9 x 102.2 cm. Signed and dated.
AMSTERDAM.- Gallery Delaive announces 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 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.

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 he 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.” Francis made entirely monochromatic works, large oil paintings with splattered areas of bright contrasting color and 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 also executed a number of monumental mural paintings for the Kunsthalle (Basel) in 1956-8 and for the Chase Manhattan Bank (New York) in 1959.

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