Who was the painter Sam Francis?
Sam Francis was a key artist in the American Abstract Expressionist movement. A cosmopolitan artist and a great interpreter of colour, Francis’ work was influenced by French Post-Impressionism as well as American and Asian contemporary art. He was associated with the Colour Field, Tachisme and Action Painting movements.
Sam Francis was born in San Mateo, California on 25 June 1923. Francis enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley in 1941 to study medicine, psychology and botany. In 1943, Francis enlisted in the US Air Force, and in the following year, he had a serious aeroplane accident when his plane crashed, leaving him with a spinal injury. As a result, Francis had to spend many months in hospital. Partially paralysed—only able to move his head and arms—he began to paint with watercolours to combat the boredom. He painted what he could see: the sky and the changing light. Francis developed a love of painting, saying “I painted to stay alive.”
To learn more about the painter Sam Francis’ life and works, you can visit the artist’s dedicated page.