Sam Francis - Contemporary Art Part II New York Tuesday, November 9, 2010 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private Collection

  • Exhibited

    New York, André Emmerich Gallery, Sam Francis, October 25  - November, 13 1969; Venice, California, Nicholas Wilder Gallery/Ace Gallery, Sam Francis: Paintings 1967 - 1968, June 29  - July 31, 1979

  • Literature

    The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.  "Thirty-Second Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting,” February 28 – April 4, 1971; exh. cat., p. 15 (not exhibited)

  • Catalogue Essay

    The present lot, by California-born painter Sam Francis, exemplifies the artist’s style of creating large-scale paintings with roughly defined areas of bright contrasting color. While Francis often worked in monochrome, this work typifies Francis’ mature style in which white canvas was intentionally left to show through the applied paint, or color was relegated to the periphery of the canvas altogether.
    The bright colors and blurred edges of the colored strokes on this canvas show the influence of Color Field painting, a method characterized by areas of solid color and a flattened picture plane. Here the bright, opaque streaks borrowed from Color Field painters are juxtaposed with a large expanse of white paint, creating an emphasis on the negative rather than positive space.
    Francis upends the convention of using white to signify a background by shifting the focus of the piece to the white expanse, and by giving color a subordinate role. The painting’s massive size overwhelms the viewer’s visual field with stark whiteness, and the colored paint appears to be a mere frame around the white rectangle.
    Francis also evokes the idea that the entire work is no more than a remnant of a painting that was completed on top of this canvas, the colored strokes marking where a painter’s brush accidentally touched the surface beyond the edges of the canvas he was working on.


Permanent Water

Acrylic and oil on canvas.
126 x 260 in. (320 x 660.4 cm).
Signed and dated "Sam Francis 1967" on the reverse. Please note the alternative title of this work is Towards Disappearance. This work is registered with the Sam Francis Foundation under SFP67-32 and will be included in the forthcoming Catalogue Raisonné of Canvas and Panel Paintings, 1946-1994 being published in September 2011

$150,000 - 200,000 

Sold for $194,500

Contemporary Art Part II

9 November 2010
New York