Sam Francis at Norton Simon

Drawing, Dreaming and Desire

Currently on display at Norton Simon in Pasadena California are works by the re known artist Sam Francis. These artworks explore the subjects of erotica and the female nude. Although Sam Francis is known for his colorful expressionist paintings these intimate drawings resonate with specific periods in the artists life and reveal another dimension of his creative energy. These lesser know but highly spirited works show a personal side of the artists oeuvre.  (1923–1994) Abstract figures shown in sexual embrace float in space of the paper. Francis’s early interest in Japanese art and aesthetics such as makura-e are expressed in these bodies of works. The caligraphic style show tribute to his fascination with Japanese art.


Francis’ most known works are recognized by saturated splashed of color that populate the edges of the canvas. This is done in order to emphasize the stark white space in the middle. The sharp contract between the vibrant hues and the austere white picture plane demonstrate the artist’s concern with space, color, and light. His contemporaries such as Jackson Pollock created art work as their means to express their psychological states.

Sam Francis- Untitled

Sam Francis was a California Native. He was drafted to the war but suffered an injury that put that path on hold. During the four years Sam Francis was hospitalized he discovered that he had a knack for painting and quickly realized his true calling. Shortly after his recovery he moved to Europe and was enamored by the joie de vivre by French artistry. The vibrant and robust colors by Monet and Matisse attracted Francis and later attributed to Francis development of his own iconic style.  Following the war Sam Francis won critical acclaim in Europe as the first american Post war painter.

Francis once said that “each painting is like my body print, taken at different moments of my life.”

Art. Culture. Current Events. jflorentinoweekly. 
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