142
142
Sam Francis
FIRST DAY
Estimate
250,000350,000
LOT SOLD. 293,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
142
Sam Francis
FIRST DAY
Estimate
250,000350,000
LOT SOLD. 293,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Nov 2013 Contemporary Day

|
New York

Sam Francis
1923 - 1994
FIRST DAY
signed and incompletely dated 198 on the reverse; dedicated For Susan on the stretcher
acrylic on canvas
48 by 60 in. 121.92 by 152.4 cm.
Executed in 1989.
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Provenance

Private Collection, Tokyo
Acquired by the present owner from the above in 2013

Exhibited

London, Knoedler Gallery, Sam Francis: Paintings, November - December 1989, illustrated on the cover

Literature

Debra Burchett-Lere, ed., Sam Francis: Catalogue Raisonné of the Canvas and Panel Paintings 1946-1994, California, 2011, cat. no. 1611, illustrated on DVD

Catalogue Note

Adorned with whimsical and bold swirls of color, First Day encapsulates Sam Francis’s iconic process and color style. Proliferating with splatters and brilliant, circular shapes gathered into large and small fields of color, the paint joins to form a harmonious and visually animated composition of blues, yellows, reds and greens. Francis brushed, splashed, dripped and dribbled dots, chains and streaks of blood red, cobalt blue, pure pale yellow, satanic black, dark purples and forest greens over characteristically large areas of white canvas, which prove to be just as important as Francis's painterly marks, giving his viewers a sense of the infinite. Francis opens up the middle of the canvas to explore the expressive qualities of space. Contrasting shapes daubed in thin and thick paint in a whole spectrum of colors dance around the canvas, which is broken up by pulsating lines of splattered paint. Francis's varying use of paint allows for a refined transparency, achieving a delicacy and radiance that is characteristic of his instantly recognizable style.

Francis’s invasions of color evoke his art historical predecessors like Henri Matisse, whom Francis adopted as his stylistic mentor during the 1950s in Paris. Brought up near San Francisco, Francis took up painting as a form of therapy during the four years he spent half-immobilized in hospital beds from 1943-1947, recovering from severe spinal problems and subsequent tuberculosis that resulted from an emergency landing made during his pilot training for World War II. Aside from Matisse, Francis’s powerfully expressive brushstrokes in numerous splashes and drips are also reminiscent of Jackson Pollock. In contrast to Pollock's visceral, almost violent approach, Francis's treatment seems to be calmer and gentler, inviting a meditative response. Perhaps because of his deep roots in the Fauvist tradition, Francis’s use of color is imbued with meaning and power, as opposed to use purely for its own sake.

Nov 2013 Contemporary Day

|
New York