Sam Francis - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale Hong Kong Thursday, July 9, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Gallery Delaive, Amsterdam (acquired directly from the Estate of the Artist)
    Private Collection
    Robert Sandelson, London
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2007

  • Catalogue Essay

    In this lot, we are presented with an intimate yet accomplished composition by the great American postwar painter Sam Francis. By the time the 1970s came about, Francis had already established himself as an imposing figure in the art world. Having already shown at MoMA and helped engineer the Tachisme movement in Europe, he worked extensively with artists all over the world, from Joan Mitchell to Walasse Ting.

    However never complacent in his practice, Francis looked to reinvent himself. Breaking from his contemporaries in the second wave of Abstract Expressionism, Untitled (1970) displays an embryonic preoccupation with the Japanese concept of ‘ma’, which would come to define much of the artist’s work of the decade. A dynamic flux of luscious tones and impulsive applications of paint, in this piece Francis begins to experiment with the notion of creating depth and mood through negative space, present around and within the globule of colour at the center of the composition.

    This work also displays the artist’s interest in psychology, in particular the work of eminent Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung. Born from such an interest was a desire to capture the very essence of his own psyche, through an automatic and random application of paint.

    Commanding our attention and deserved of our respect, Untitled is an absorbing work, one that resonates with exuberant, oscillating forms and non-forms.



circa 1970
stamped with the artist's signature 'Sam Francis' by the Sam Francis Estate on the reverse
acrylic on paper
22 x 17.7 cm. (8 5/8 x 6 7/8 in.)
Executed circa 1970, this work is registered in the archives of the Sam Francis Foundation with the number SF70-754. This information is subject to change as scholarship continues by the Sam Francis Foundation.

HK$50,000 - 70,000 

Sold for HK$100,000

Contact Specialist
Danielle So
Associate Specialist, Head of Day Sale

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 9 July 2020