528
528

PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED JAPANESE MUSEUM COLLECTION

Sam Francis
REQUIEM FOR SHIMIZU
Estimate
2,800,0003,800,000
LOT SOLD. 5,160,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT
528

PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED JAPANESE MUSEUM COLLECTION

Sam Francis
REQUIEM FOR SHIMIZU
Estimate
2,800,0003,800,000
LOT SOLD. 5,160,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art

|
Hong Kong

Sam Francis
1923 - 1994
REQUIEM FOR SHIMIZU
numbered SFP79-1 on the overlap
Executed in 1979. 
acrylic on canvas
274.5 by 365.8 cm; 108⅛ by 144⅛ in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Yayoi Gallery, Tokyo
Acquired by the present owner from the above

This work is identified with the archival identification number of SFF.713 in consideration for the forthcoming addendum to the Sam Francis: Catalogue Raisonné of Canvas and Panel Paintings, to be published by the Sam Francis Foundation. This information is subject to change as scholarship continues by the Sam Francis Foundation. This work is alternatively registered with the Sam Francis Foundation under archive number SFP-79-1.

Exhibited

New York, André Emmerich Gallery, Sam Francis: Recent Paintings, 19 May–15 June 1979
Paris, Galerie Jean Fournier, Sam Francis, 20 October–30 November 1979
Milan, Studio Marconi, Sam Francis: Opere dal 1960 al 1983, 12 May–15 June 1983, unpaginated (illustrated)
Bonn, Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Sam Francis, 12 February–18 April 1993, pp. 210–211 (illustrated in colour)
Japan, Tokuyama, Tokuyama City Museum of Art and History, Sam Francis and Sengai: From the Idemitsu Museum of Arts, 11 April–1 June 1997, pp. 42–43, pl. 17 (illustrated in colour)
Japan, Toyama, Museum of Modern Art, Sam Francis: From the Idemitsu Collection, 10 August–16 September 2002, pp. 76–77, no. 49 (illustrated in colour). This exhibition later travelled in the same to additional venues in Japan: Chiba, Kawamura Memorial Museum of Art, 28 September–10 November; Ehime, Museum of Art Ehime, 16 November–23 December; and in 2003 to Tokyo, Museum of Contemporary Art, 5 April–25 May; Fukushima, Iwaki City Art Museum, 3 June–6 July; Oita, Oita City Art Museum, 13 September–26 October

Literature

Parinaud, André., Sam Francis: La création est une meditation courte et ardente, Galerie-Jardin des Arts 199, 1980, p. 35 (illustrated in color)
Bosetti, Petra., "Ausstellungen: Bonn—Sam Francis Inseln im Sturm der Farben.", Art (Hamburg) 2 (February 1993), p. 88 (illustrated)
Contemporary Great Masters: Sam Francis, Tokyo, Kodansha, 1994, pl. 54 (illustrated)
Exh. Cat., Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sam Francis: Paintings 1947–1990, 1999, p. 43, figs. 45–46 (illustrated)
Debra Burchett-Lere, Ed., Sam Francis: Catalogue Raisonné of Canvas and Panel Paintings 1946-1994, Berkeley, 2011, p. 109, cat. no. SFF.713, illustrated in colour on DVD

Catalogue Note

REQUIEM FOR SHIMIZU

“I HAVE NOT FELT LIKE BEING IN JAPAN WITHOUT HIM.”
-Sam Francis


Dazzlingly resplendent, dynamic in composition and majestic in scale, Requiem for Shimizu is archetypal of Sam Francis’s extraordinary corpus of matrix paintings from the late 1970s. Executed in 1979, this outstanding work was created at one of the high points of Francis’s career – a period defined by a remarkable complexity of interweaving grids, unprecedented range of colour combinations, as well as the variety of scale and support. This particular painting’s extensive exhibition history testifies not only its significance as a culmination of the artist’s unique visual vocabulary, but also highlights its poignancy and tremendous sentimental value as Francis’s homage to his dear friend Shimizu Kusuo, who died in the same year this work was created.

Shimizu Kusuo was a prominent Japanese gallerist and director of the renowned Minami Gallery – the first art space in Japan to bring forth contemporary giants such as Joan Miro, Alberto Giacometti, Jasper Johns, and Sam Francis himself to the forefront of the French Post-Impressionist inclined Japanese art scene.  Francis first met Shimizu in 1957 and the two soon struck up a long-lasting friendship; in parallel, the latter also took up the role as the artist’s dealer. Through Shimizu, Francis assimilated into the Japanese art scene by not only exhibiting in the Minami Gallery, but also by building strong connections with numerous leading Japanese artists such as Yoshihara Jiro and Yamaguchi Takeo. In 1966, Shimizu helped Francis realise his famous Pasadena Box series, initially created as a fundraising project for the Art Alliance of Pasadena Art Museum, and prompted the later establishment of Francis’ own Litho shop in Santa Monica to print his own lithographs in 1970. While Francis and Shimizu strode as comrades in the art world, they also enjoyed the leisurely company of each other at baseball matches as well as bars.

Shimizu’s determination to support Francis and their heartfelt friendship left a life-long imprint on the artist. In the spring of 1979, the sudden death of Shimizu left Francis in shock, and the artist attended Shimizu’s memorial in Japan and stayed with the latter’s family for a few weeks to mourn.  The tragic incident affected Francis so deeply that the artist travelled around Europe to contemplate Shimizu’s death. Finding himself unable to revisit Japan after his friend’s passing, Francis wrote in a letter, “I have not felt like being in Japan without him.” (Debra Burchet-Lere, William C. Agee. Sam Francis: Catalogue raisonné of Canvas and Panel Paintings, 1946-1994. University of California Press, 2011, p. 252). During this period of lamentation, Francis spearheaded and organised the publication of an anthology of prints titled Homage to Kusuo Shimizu of Minami Gallery, whilst also creating the present painting as a moving chromatic requiem. The thick lyrical brushstrokes fashions a gridded map, leaving parts of the canvas white to create negative spaces that evoke a sense of depth, reserved for the viewer’s contemplation. Echoing Francis’ reflective aphorism, “Death has no/surface/only depth,” Requiem of Shimizu evokes not only the artist’s virtuoso but also embodies a significant chapter of the artist’s life.

Contemporary Art

|
Hong Kong