Sam Francis


Sam Francis (1923-1994) is renowned for his dynamic and colorful abstract works and is one of the most accomplished second-generation Abstract Expressionists. 

Printmaking was an essential part of his practice. Similar to Robert Motherwell, Francis became so transfixed by the medium, he would establish his own printing studio...but only after collaborating with, and experimenting at the best American printing studios, notably Gemini and Tamarind, both in Los Angeles.  

Regardless of medium, Francis is often celebrated as the leading artist from the second generation of abstract expressionist artists. His work is easily recognizable for its vibrant saturated colors, its gestural arrangements, and frequent open or untouched spaces. Francis also had an impressive international career, spending significant time both creating art and exhibiting in California, New York City, Paris, Switzerland, and Japan. 

After his military service during WWII, Francis returned to California and received a Master of Arts from Cal Berkeley in 1950. Taking advantage of the G.I. bill, Francis moved to Paris to further his education and devote himself to art making. This was a fortuitous move, as by 1956 Time Magazine called him “The hottest American painter in Paris".

Francis’ aesthetic was shaped by access to Paris' world-renowned collections of art including French impressionists, as well as his contemporaries working in France including Jean-Peal Riopelle, and other American ex-pats such as Al Held and Joan Mitchell. This diverse exposure continued as Francis traveled and held studios in continental Europe, Japan, Mexico, and the US during a forty-year period.

"Untitled (Embrace)" is an excellent example of Sam Francis' printmaking practice from the last chapter of his career. In his signature palette of bold colors, Francis weaves several abstract shapes together in an eye-catching and harmonic composition. Francis' late works are notable for their depth of palette. In addition to canary yellow, fire-engine red, and electric green, are rich dark colors such as grey, teal, and plum.  

Francis' late prints are highly sought-after and can be found in several museum permanent collections including LACMA, the MoMA (NYC) and the Amnon Carter Museum of American Art (Fort Worth, Texas), and the Norton Simon Museum (California) 

Questions about this piece? Contact us or call +1.416.704.1720. Visit our Toronto gallery on Thursdays or by appointment.


USA, 1987

Aquatint on Rives BFK

Signed and numbered in pencil, lower margin.

From an edition of 27

21.5"H 17.75"W (sheet)

Printed and published by The Litho Shop, Inc., Santa Monica, with the blind stamp lower right.

Very good condition.

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Occasionally we will recommend that an artwork be removed from its frame for shipping. Larger framed works are typically framed with plexiglass. We export over 80% of what we sell, so we are comfortable shipping anywhere. 

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