Thursday, November 8, 2012

1990 Kenwood Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon features Sam Francis

If you are in the mood for some fine Cabernet, is featuring a 1990 bottle of Kenwood's 1990 "Artist Series" with an etching by Sam Francis that expresses "joy and excitement."

Kenwood "Artist Series" wines have also featured images by Joan Miro, Pablo Picasso, Henry Miller, Alexander Calder and Vincent van Gogh.

To order a bottle, or to learn more, click here. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Shingo Francis at MARMA Berlin

Open Studios
Artists in residence: Shingo Francis/ Kevin E. Taylor

October 20th ~ 21st, 2012


MARMA Project Space
Wiebestrasse 39, 3rd Floor
10053, Berlin (Moabit)

'Marma' is a non-commercial project offering four artists the opportunity to experience a 3-month art residency in Berlin each year.

The 2012 summer-fall season showcases the works of participating artists Shingo Francis(USA/Japan) and Kevin Earl Taylor(USA). MARMA will host Open Studios for both artists who will present their work created during their 3 month residency program.

For more information visit this link.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Proposed Federal Bill for Artist's Resale Royalties

Theodore Feder, the President of the Artist's Rights Society, and Bruce Lehman, a former U.S. Patent and Trademark Office commissioner, are lobbying Congress to adopt a federal bill that would grant resale rights to artists whose work is sold at major auction houses in this country. The proposal, the latest in three decades’ worth of attempts to institute such a law, first initiated by Ted Kennedy in 1993, follows a court ruling that invalidates the only resale royalty statute on the books in the United States, a California state law that is almost never heeded or enforced.

For more information, read a more complete report at

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sam Francis Painting Appears on "Giuliana and Bill"

During a recent episode of Giuliana and Bill on the Style Network, Bill Rancic stopped by Martin Katz, Ltd. in Beverly Hills to replace Giuliana's wedding band. Hanging in the foyer is a beautiful Sam Francis acrylic on paper from the early 70's which Martin acquired from Jonathan Novak Contemporary Art.

Here is an image Francis painting from Martin's collection:

Sam Francis
Untitled (SF71-1006), 1971
Acrylic on paper
29-1/2" x 40-1/8"

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sam Francis Featured in "The Lure of Paris"

Sam Francis and others of his generation who left the U.S. to paint and study in Paris are featured in "The Lure of Paris" at the Loretta Howard Gallery in New York, September 6 through November 3, 2012.

Other featured artists in the exhibition include: Biala, Norman Bluhm, Ed Clark, Harold Cousins, Beauford Delaney, Shirley Goldfarb, Cleve Gray, Al Held, Shirley Jaffe, Conrad Marca-Relli, Joan Mitchell, Jules Olitski, Milton Resnick, Jean-Paul Riopelle, and George Sugarman Jack Youngerman
On View: Loretta Howard Gallery | Group Show | The Lure of Paris from GalleryLOG on Vimeo.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

iPad 3 Ad Features Sam Francis

This Canadian promotional ad for the Apple iPad features two works by Sam Francis from the collection of the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Montréal. The works are Sam's 1954 "Abstraction," an oil on canvas, and also a print, "Chinese Balloons," from 1963. You will see them early in the video below at the 3-4 second mark, with "Chinese Balloon" floating above a thumbnail image of "Abstraction."


Thursday, September 20, 2012

"A Portrait of the Self," A Film by Mark Whitney of Sam Francis Painting

In the late1960s, Mark Whitney, then a student at UC Santa Cruz, took a course in Cultural Anthropology with the noted anthropologist Gregory Bateson.  In Bateson’s seminars Whitney was exposed to cybernetics systems theory, a boundary crossing approach to exploring regulatory systems. Cybernetic theories can be applied to many kinds of systems – including mechanical, biological and cognitive systems – and Whitney found Bateson’s lectures “eye-opening.”

A few years later, when Whitney saw a show of abstract paintings at the Nicholas Wilder Gallery, he felt an immediate sense of connection between Francis’ approach to painting and cybernetic theory, which he felt “resonated and was made manifest” in Sam’s work. After a visit to Francis’ home and studio on West Channel Road in Santa Monica a unique friendship between Mark Whitney and Sam Francis developed which would ultimately result in Whitney being given the rare opportunity to film the artist at work.

Taking an interest in Whitney's personal projects, Francis helped sponsor some experimental film projects Whitney had become involved in, including filming the movement of water. By 1974 Francis was also allowing Whitney to shoot footage in his studio.

 Mark Whitney filming Sam Francis at work. Photo Meibao D. Nee

In the spring of 1975 Francis, who was connected with the C.G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles, offered to put money into a film project that would involve interviewing Jung’s surviving colleagues, students and family members. He did so with one condition: that Mark Whitney would be the primary filmmaker for the project.  The film “A Matter of Heart,” which features a score by composer John Adams, was not completed until 1985.

In 1978 Whitney was given the opportunity to film Sam at work: the idea was that he would document the creation of a single painting. Because he knew that Francis disliked the idea of the “cult of personality” Whitney knew that the film had to be focused mainly on Francis’ creative process. Using methods he had developed to film water – including the use of cameras that allowed filming at variable speeds – Whitney set out to capture Francis’ painting methods. 

Filming Francis, who painted in an almost trancelike state wasn’t easy. “When he was in the act of painting Sam was in a creative sacred space,” Whitney recalls. “He wasn’t going to wait for me…he would never stop.” Shifting between filming speeds and changing film quickly when he ran out, Whitney managed to gather all the footage he could of Francis at work on an untitled painting. It wasn’t until 2007 that a grant from the Sam Francis Foundation allowed Whitney to finally assemble and edit the raw footage into his 19 minute film “A Portrait of the Self.”

A riveting glimpse into the private world of Francis’ studio, “A Portrait of the Self” documents a man who --  in Mark Whitney’s words --“totally gave himself over to painting.” Francis himself believed strongly that the creative act was motivated by the artist’s connection to his inner life. “Love and the creative are one,” he wrote, “and reflect the ego’s indwelling urge to know the self.”

For information about ordering "A Portrait of the Self," please contact the Sam Francis Foundation: 

Below: A 2 1/2 minute clip from the opening of "A Portrait of the Self"

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sam Francis: A Dave Brubeck Album Cover

What do Sam Francis, Franz Kline and Joan Miró have in common?

The answer is that all three of them had their paintings feature on album covers for the Dave Brubeck Quartet. Here is Sam's cover for the 1963 album "Time Changes."

"Time Changes" Cover art by Sam Francis

"Time Further Out" Cover art by Joan Miró

"Countdown Time in Outer Space" Cover art by Franz Kline

Would you like to listen to samples of "Time Changes" or order a CD of the album? Click here to find it on

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sam Francis and the Founding of MOCA Los Angeles

In recent article for Los Angeles, Magazine, "To Understand the Future of MoCA, Look at its Past," Thomas Lawson comments on aspect of the key role that Sam Francis played in the establishment of the museum:
"While MoCA was still more of an idea than a reality, Sam Francis and Robert Irwin, two of the artists on the board, scored a coup in persuading Pontus Hulten, the founding director of the Centre Pompidou, to leave Paris and become the first director of the new museum. Hulten was one of the most highly respected museum professionals in Europe, with a long career promoting American Pop art and related interdisciplinary forms with populist appeal."
Francis with Pontus Hultén in Francis' Venice studio, California. (Photo by Jerry Sohn.)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sam Francis Featured in "Local Color" at the San Jose Museum of Art

Sam Francis, "Untitled," 1978. Acrylic on paper; 12 ½ x 14 ¾ inches; Gift of David Devine. 
On view in "Local Color" through January 13, 2012 at the San Jose Museum of Art

Local Color, drawn from the San Jose Museum of Art's permanent collection, explores the primacy of color in a range of works, from Alexander Calder’s whimsical mobiles to Elmer Bischoff’s luscious, light-filled canvases to David Levinthal’s slick, color-saturated photographs of Barbie dolls.  Also featured are works by artists who consider the quiet, meditative nuances of black and white.  This exhibition encourages viewers to look at color as content.

This exhibition also includes work by Josef Albers, Fletcher Benton, Mary Corse, Tony DeLap, Sonia Gechtoff, James Hayward, Paul Jenkins, Amy Kaufman, Markus Linnenbrink, Nathan Oliveira, Fred Spratt, Raimonds Staprans, Amy Trachtenberg, and Patrick Wilson, among others.

"Color…is a receptacle for a feeling and a way for you to hold it until understanding arrives." --Sam Francis

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Legal Ramifications of Authenticating Artwork

At a recent seminar in Los Angeles, attorney Christine Steiner of Sheppard Mulllin and Debra Burchett-Lere, Director of the Sam Francis Foundation, reported on the evolving legal ramifications for authenticating artwork.

The Sam Francis Foundation, for example, offers the owners of Francis works the opportunity to register the work and to obtain a Documentation Data Sheet with information on the creation and history of the work. 

To learn more about this issue, and what Burchett-Lere had to say, click here. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Blue Balls V by Sam Francis Enters the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Blue Balls V by Sam Francis Enters the Metropolitan Museum of Art

 Sam Francis, Blue Balls V, 1962, 72 x 52 inches, oil on canvas
Collection: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Sam Francis Foundation
Los Angeles, July 20, 2012:  The Sam Francis Foundation is pleased to announce that it has donated Blue Balls V, a1962 oil on canvas, to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The painting is the first Sam Francis oil to join the Met’s collection. The painting joins two other works by Francis -- 1957 watercolor, Structure II, and an untitled monotype from 1977 -- already in the Metropolitan’s collection.

The 72 x 52 inch painting is from a series that Francis executed between 1960 and 1963 while convalescing after a bout of renal tuberculosis. During his extended hospitalization Francis endured kidney problems and swelling in one of his testicles, to which the title “Blue Balls” makes a sardonic reference. Painted on a pure white ground in sweeping strokes of blue – a favored color of the artist – Blue Balls V is both a biomorphic abstraction that suggests cellular presences, and a confident demonstration of the artist’s bravura brushwork.

Blue Balls V is one of 16 known oil on canvas works from the “Blue Balls” series.  “Blue Balls VIII” is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles. 

Sam Francis in his Santa Monica Studio in 1965 with Blue Balls V

In 1991, when New York’s Gagosian Gallery held a show of Francis’ “Blue Balls” paintings, Roberta Smith of the New York Times characterized the works in the exhibition as “elegantly explosive.” Commenting on the Blue Balls series as a whole, Smith had strong praise to offer:  “They show a young artist at the height of his powers, mark a turning point in American painting with unusual complexity, and in both ways may unsettle prevailing opinion about their creator's achievement. “

Art historian William Agee, in his essay for the Sam Francis Catalogue Raisonné of Canvas and Panel Paintings, 1946 – 1994, notes that "...these paintings (the “Blue Balls” series) participate in the heightened openness and clarity of the art of the 1960s; a development, it should be remembered, that Francis himself had helped to define and effect."

Marla Prather, the Met’s Curator for Modern and Contemporary Art, feels that Blue Balls V fills a void in the Museum’s collection:  “Given the Metropolitan’s great strength in American Abstract Expressionist and Color Field painting it is surprising that it was not until 2011 that the Museum acquired its first painting by Sam Francis. We are pleased to represent the artist with a strikingly vibrant work from the Blue Ball series. The restrained composition of Blue Balls V has a remarkably contemporary presence and makes an ideal transition from the Museum’s collection of gestural painting from the 1950s to hard-edge painting of 1960s.“

Debra Burchett-Lere, Acting President and Director of the Sam Francis Foundation is pleased to be working on behalf of the board of directors in realizing a gifting program, as outlined by Francis Foundation Board members, Nancy Mozur and Donna Stein. “Working with Marla Prather and the staff at the Metropolitan on this donation has been such a positive experience,” states Burchett-Lere. “We are honored with the Metropolitan’s enthusiastic acquisition of the Sam Francis as it joins a good home with the other prominent postwar holdings in the museum’s collection.”

High resolution images of Blue Balls V are available for Press use on request.

About the Sam Francis Foundation:
The mission of The Sam Francis Foundation is to research, document, protect and perpetuate the creative legacy of the artist Sam Francis (1923–1994).

The goal of the foundation is to promote awareness of and knowledge about the art of Sam Francis to the public through education and information. Ongoing projects include donations of Sam Francis prints, works on paper, canvas paintings, and accompanying educational materials such as films, catalogues, and posters to charitable institutions across the United States. Institutions are selected on the basis of their scholarly approach to exhibitions and for their commitment to publications that provide regular public access to artists’ works.

For more information, please contact:
John Seed, Media Relations Consultant:
Communications Office, The Metropolitan Museum of Art:

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sam Francis: Catalogue Raisonné Reviewed by the Art Libraries Society of North America

Comments from a review of Sam Francis: Catalogue Raisonné of Canvas and Panel Paintings, 1946–1994, posted by the Art Libraries Society of North America.

Presented as a hybrid, innovative catalogue raisonné, this is an electronic publication accompanied by a book with additional material. Its digital nature offers large storage capacity and browsability via links, but the choice of format (DVD) is questionable. In addition to preservation issues (disk and software obsolescence), it lacks some of the advantages of online catalogue raisonnés (a growing publishing model, with around thirty currently completed or in progress), particularly accessibility and the ability to change, although the latter has been addressed by the Foundation by promising access to online updates. The quality of the digital images (JPEG) is adequate for most research purposes, but the lack of high resolution (another growing trend in digital art publishing), and color issues, common to all digital imaging (color calibration, light conditions, etc.), are also a consideration. Technical information for images and software is minimal.

These production issues, however, do not detract from the achievement and value of the scholarly content of this catalogue raisonné, which includes a vast amount of new material. It is now the standard reference source on Francis and, as such, a recommended acquisition for academic and specialist libraries supporting research in modern and contemporary art or American art.

- Gustavo Grandal Montero, Academic Support Librarian, Chelsea College of Art & Design Library, University of the Arts London

To download a pdf of the complete review, click here. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

What Appraisers and Collectors Should Know

Debra Burchett-Lere, Acting President and Director of The Sam Francis Foundation will be one of the panelists participating in "Authentication and the Art Market: What Appraisers and Collectors Should Know." The event, which is sponsored by the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Society of Appraisers, will take place on July 31, 2012, from 10AM to Noon at the Pasadena Museum of History at 470 West Walnut Street in Pasadena.

Topics to be discussed will  include:

• The effects on the market for works in relation to traditional catalogues raisonnés

• Keeping catalogue raisonnés current and authoritative

• The function of artists’ foundations in light of authentication issues and recent developments, such  as the disbanding of the Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board

• Timely legal issues pertaining to authentication questions with several artists’ foundations

• The influence of these issues on the art market.

A question and answer session will follow the panel.

To register or for more information click here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sam Francis Paintings Seen Through a Microscope

Have you ever wondered how the drips, splatters and blobs of paint on a Sam Francis painting would look highly magnified? Here is your chance...

"Untitled," 1981, 60 x 55 inches
Collection Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Enschede, Netherlands; Long-term loan of No Hero Foundation 

The photos below are details of an acrylic on canvas painting by Sam Francis (Untitled, 1981) photographed through a microscope by the Conservator Modern Art of Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Enschede (The Netherlands).

 Sam Francis 1981

"Untitled" under the microscope

Sam Francis 1981
Sam Francis 1981
Sam Francis 1981 Sam Francis 1981

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sam Francis in the Anderson Collection

A major work by Sam Francis, "Red in Red," from 1955, will be on permanent display in the new Anderson Collection building, scheduled to open at Stanford University in 2015.

Sam Francis, "Red in Red, 78.38 x 78.38 inches, oil on canvas

Purchased by the Andersons in 1969 from dealer Martha Jackson, "Red in Red" was painted by Francis in his Paris studio on the Rue Tiphaine, and was first exhibited in 1955 at the  Galerie Rive Droite, Paris. 

Francis at Galerie Rive Droite, Paris, 1955; photo © Pierre Boulat/Cosmos. 

For more information about the Anderson Collection building, click here.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Sam Francis!

Sam Francis was born on June 25th, 1923: he would have been 89 today. 

Francis with his son Osamu in Venice studio, California. (Photo by Douglas Shields.)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sam Francis: "My happiness is a curved line..."

Sam Francis, "Untitled," 1988-89, 72 x 120 inches, acrylic on canvas
Collection: Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima, Japan

From a statement written by Francis to accompany the display of "Untitled" in the exhibition “Theme Hiroshima,” 3 May–20 August 1989:

"My happiness is a curved line, a circle and the straight line of the sun"

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Galleria Agnellini Arte Moderna Brescia, Italy Sam Francis 23 April - 14 July 2012

Brescia, Italy
Sam Francis

23 April - 14 July 2012

Sam Francis on Painting, 1957

"What we want to make is something that fills utterly the sight, and can't be used to make life only bearable; if the painting till now was a way of making bearable the sight of the unbearable, the visual sumptuous, then let's now strip away... all that." 

- Sam Francis in a letter to MOMA curator Dorothy Miller in 1957

 Sam Francis installing his 1957 show at the Martha Jackson Gallery, New York. 
 Photo courtesy Martha Jackson Gallery Archives:
University at Buffalo Anderson Gallery, State University of New York at Buffalo

The above quote and photo are from: 

The Sam Francis: Catalogue Raisonné of Canvas and Panel Paintings, 1946–1994

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sam Francis "Berlin Red" at the Martin-Gropius-Bau

Sam Francis’s monumental 24-by-36-foot painting Berlin Red, which was painted in Los Angeles as a commission for the Neue Nationalgalerie in 1968-70, was recently on display at the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin, as part of "Pacific Standard Time." During the exhibition, Sam Francis Foundation Director Debra Burchett-Lere was able to view the work and admire its scale and presence.

Above: Debra Burchett-Lere viewing Sam Francis, Berlin Red installed for "Pacific Standard Time" at Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, 2012. 

A visitor walks by Berlin Red: Photo Markus Schreiber

Have a look in inside The Sam Francis Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings: