106
106

SEEING IN COLOR: ABSTRACTION FROM A DISTINGUISHED NORTH AMERICAN COLLECTION

Sam Francis
DOMRÉMY
Estimate
250,000350,000
LOT SOLD. 400,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
106

SEEING IN COLOR: ABSTRACTION FROM A DISTINGUISHED NORTH AMERICAN COLLECTION

Sam Francis
DOMRÉMY
Estimate
250,000350,000
LOT SOLD. 400,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
New York

Sam Francis
1923 - 1994
DOMRÉMY
signed with the artist’s initials; signed and dated 1958 on the reverse
watercolor and gouache on paper
27 by 40 in. 68.6 by 101.6 cm.
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This work is identified with the interim identification number of SF58-264 in consideration for the forthcoming Sam Francis: Catalogue Raisonné of Unique Works on Paper. This information is subject to change as scholarship continues by the Sam Francis Foundation.

Provenance

Martha Jackson Gallery, New York
Collection of Dorothy Beskind, New York (acquired from the above in 1958)
Richard Feigen Gallery, New York
Collection of Jeffrey Wilkey, New York (acquired from the above in February 2011)
Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton
Acquired from the above by the present owner in February 2012

Exhibited

New York, Martha Jackson Gallery, Sam Francis: Paintings, November - December 1958

Catalogue Note

Sam Francis’ lyrical Domrémy is a mystical example of the artist's output at the height of his career. The gouache’s reds and maroon, ochres, and deep black are tinged with subtleties of blue that brings one deeper and deeper into the work. Executed in 1958, after the artist had completed two trips around the world that brought him from California to Paris, New York to Japan and back again, Domrémy is a mastery of color and place. Indeed, it was during Francis’ first trip to Paris in 1950 that the artist became fascinated with light and its effect on color after seeing Monet’s Water Lilies and Bonnard's outdoor scenes firsthand. In fact, Francis painted the present work shortly after moving into a bigger studio in Paris' Arcueil district on the rue du Domrémy where he also painted monumental works like the Basel Mural triptych, now in the collections of the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. The present work combines this understanding of light and color with Francis' newfound appreciation for space and Eastern thought, bolstered from his time in Japan. 

Layering nearly translucent areas of color with more thickly applied gouache, the color in Domrémy jumps from itself to the starkness of the untouched white sheet. The expanses of deliberate, vivid color are exacerbated by the vastness of the negative space on either side of the cascading color—areas that are highly intentional. While in Tokyo in 1957, Francis lived and worked in a temple, observing the lessons of traditional Japanese haboku, or flung-ink painting, as well as ikebana, the art of flower arrangement. Both studies are evident in Domrémy, where the gestural color freely falls down the vertical expanse of the work, into a world unknown. The notion of the void—central to East Asian culture—is expressed clearly here. Francis’ establishing a permanent studio in Japan stands as a further testament to the importance of Japanese traditions as a paramount influence on the artist. In fusing both Eastern and Western cultures in Francis' magnificent body of work, Peter Selz explains: "He reflects on the symbolism of white as the imperial color of magnificence and nobility, as the color of Great Jove, the albatross, and the veil of Christianity's deity, but he also notes that it is the color of evil, transcendent horror, and great panic, the shroud of death and the fog of ghosts" (Peter Seltz, Sam Francis, New York 1982, p. 62).

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
New York