Sam Francis

No artwork matches

Biography of Sam Francis ( 1923-1994 )

Samuel Lewis Francis, known as Sam Francis, was born in 1923 in the city of San Mateo, California. He studied medicine and psychology.

He became a pilot of the US Air Force during the Second World War. In 1944 his plane crashed in the desert and he was seriously injured in the spine. He spent several years immobilized on a hospital bed. He began his career as an artist. Following the advice of his doctors, to pass the time and avoid depression, he learned to draw.

These first works were simple and represented mainly what he saw, the sky, the clouds, the light. Sam Francis declared that his paintings came from his illness: "I left the hospital through my painting (...) it was because I was able to paint that I could heal myself".

Out of the hospital, Sam Francis began studying Art in Berkeley, California, between 1948 and 1950. He studied with the artist Clyfford Still. Until 1949, he painted mostly irregular cell-like stains. He was even called a « tachist », a name that referred to the chance of creation: the form was a stain, subject to chance and arising spontaneously. From 1950, these characteristic patterns fade and gave way to monochrome canvases.

The painter then moved to Paris; he worked in the capital and in the south of France between 1950 and 1961, then abroad: Mexico, New York, Bern, Tokyo. His first solo exhibition took place in Paris in 1952. 

Between 1955 and 1975, Sam Francis exhibited throughout the world in major galleries and international museums: Paris, Seattle, New York, London, Tokyo, San Francisco, Basel, Los Angeles, Houston ... Between 1973 and 1974, he lived and worked in Tokyo where he exhibited twice at the Idemitsu Art Museum and the Minami Gallery.


32 avenue Marceau
75008 Paris, France
Monday to Friday from 10am to 7pm
Saturdays from 2 to 7 p.m.
NEWSLETTER: If you would like to receive our newsletter, please enter your email address: