Sam Francis - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session New York Wednesday, November 14, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Jean Fournier, Paris
    Private Collection (acquired from the above in 1977) (?)
    Galerie André Simoens, Knokke
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1997

  • Exhibited

    Los Angeles, Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Sam Francis, June 3 - 28, 1975
    Chicago, Richard Gray Gallery, Sam Francis: An Exhibition of New Paintings, October 3 - November 15, 1975
    New York, André Emmerich Gallery, Sam Francis: New Paintings and Works on Paper, May 1 - 22, 1976

  • Literature

    Debra Burchett-Lere, ed., Sam Francis: Catalogue Raisonné of Canvas and Panel Paintings 1946-1994, Berkeley, 2011, no. SFF.656, DVD I (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    “The center is reserved for you.” Sam Francis

    A superb example of Sam Francis’ Matrix paintings, Face to Face, 1975 speaks to the intensity and self-discovery that defined the artist’s production in the 1970s. Evolving from his minimalist approach in the 1960s, Francis rediscovered his love for vivacious, colorful pigment, which had defined his densely layered canvases of the 1950s. Continuing to work on a large scale, Francis would place the canvas on the floor and apply color with industrial paint rollers and sponges, establishing structural tracks upon which he added drips and splatters of paint by brushing, pouring, spreading, and blotting. The resulting compositions maintain a captivating balance between chaos and order, light and dark—the surface is at once activated by a kinetic energy and stabilized by the underlying architectural bands. Face to Face reverberates with the rhythmic movement of the artist. At the center, a small, empty square grounds the composition. Francis explains, “The center is reserved for you”—amongst rhythmic bands of color, this window acts as a portal through which the viewer is invited to enter and move within the painting (the Artist, quoted in W. C. Agee, “Sam Francis: A Painter’s Dialogue with Color, Light, and Space,” Sam Francis: Catalogue Raisonné of Canvas and Panel Paintings, 1964-1994, Los Angeles, 2011, p. 21). In Face to Face, this central force remains an area to give pause, to which the viewer can continually return.


Face to Face

acrylic on canvas
84 x 108 in. (213.4 x 274.3 cm.)
Painted in 1975.

This work is identified with the interim identification number of SFF.656 in consideration for the forthcoming addendum to the Sam Francis: Catalogue Raisonné of Canvas and Panel Paintings. This information is subject to change as scholarship continues by the Sam Francis Foundation.

$350,000 - 450,000 

Contact Specialist
John McCord
Head of Day Sale, Morning Session
New York
+1 212 940 1261

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session

New York Auction 14 November 2018