Hotline +49 30 47 38 78 45

Basic Data

Sam Francis is considered one of the most important American painters and graphic artists today. His work can be classified as Color field painting and Abstract expressionism.

  • Born on: 25 June 1923
  • Died on: 4 November 1994
  • Place of birth: San Mateo, California, USA
  • Nationality: American
  • Studied at: University of California, Berkeley
  • Teacher: Mark Rothko
  • Similar artists: Robert Rauschenberg, Hans Hartung
  • Era: Modern art
  • Stylistic direction: abstract art, Abstract expressionism, Color field painting

It is especially Francis' unique combination of abstract elements, Color field painting, Impressionism and far eastern art that are characteristic of his painterly abstractions. Today he is best known for his abstract compositions of intense splashes of color. 

Sam Francis Prices

Artist: Title: Price: Type: Size: Edition: Handsigned: Numbered: Date:
Sam Francis Poèmes dans le ciel 3500 Euro Original print 22 x 30 in limited edition of 100 yes yes 16.07.2019
Sam Francis 1981 untitled 7900 Euro Original print 29.9 x 63 in limited edition of 4 yes no 16.07.2019
Sam Francis Untitled 4900 Euro Original print 22 x 30 in limited edition of 14 yes yes 16.07.2019



Sam Francis was born as Samuel Lewis Francis on June 25th 1923 in San Mateo, Northern California. He first studied medicine, botany and psychology at the University of California at Berkeley in the 1940s. Then he enlisted as a soldier in the U.S. Air Force during World War II. In the process, he suffered severe injuries in a plane crash, which was followed by many years of hospitalisation. During his convalescence, Francis came into contact with art, especially painting. He then decided to study art history and fine arts. It was especially the abstract expressionists, such as Clyfford Still and Mark Rothko, who inspired him.

After completing his studies, Sam Francis moved to Paris. Especially the artists around the French-Canadian Jean-Paul Riopelle had a great influence on his artistic style, which developed in the direction of Tachism. He became known for his painting technique in which the colours form a trickle and collect as a mixture in blobs of colour. With these works, which followed a compositional lack of rules, Francis moved along an exciting line between Abstract Expressionism and Informel.

During his first solo exhibition in 1952, he met his future wife Muriel Goodwin. He then spent some time in Tokyo, Mexico, Bern and New York, coming into contact with various styles of art and familiarising himself with ZEN Buddhism. In 1962, he settled back in Santa Monica. This was followed by his participation in documenta III in Kassel and the Venice Biennale.

In the 1970s, Sam Francis turned to action painting and also began to experiment with art techniques such as etching and lithography. The painter devoted himself to the depiction of bright centrally placed forms reminiscent of Tibetan mandalas and in the 1980s found great fascination in snake-like forms and coloured drops.

Francis' work was exhibited in numerous museums and galleries worldwide. Shortly before his death in 1994 at the age of 71, the painter and graphic artist was elected a member of the National Academy of Design.

In addition, the US artist developed a great social commitment throughout his life. He spoke out against the Vietnam War and founded the Sam Francis Medical Research Center in 1987, which is dedicated to researching diseases caused by the environment.



  • 23.02.2023 – 21.05.2023 The Shape Of Freedom – Munch Museum, Oslo.
  • 15.09.21 - 12.12.21 NOTHINGTOSEENESS - Leere/Weiß/Stille – Akademie der Künste, Berlin.
  • 04.06.21 - 03.04.22 Break + Bleed - San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose.
  • 19.02.21 - 27.06.21 Sam Francis. SPACE & CONTAINMENT, Ludorff, Düsseldorf.
  • 10.10.20 - 28.03.21 Der Löwe hat Hunger… - Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel.
  • 04.11.18 - 06.01.19 Pierre Soulages – Noir / Lumière - LUDWIGMUSEUM Koblenz.
  • 14.07.2017 - 05.11.2017 The Great Graphic Boom. Amerikanische Kunst 1960 – 1990 - Staatsgalerie Stuttgart.
  • 24.09.2016 - 02.01.2017 Abstract expressionism - Royal Academy of Arts, London.
  • 08.04.2016 - 28.07.2016 Drawing, Dreaming and Desire, Works on Paper by Sam Francis - Norton Simon Museum, Passadena.
  • 27.05.2015 - 22.04.2016 La Nouvelle Presentation des Collections Modernes, 1905-1965 - Centre Pompidou, Paris.
  • 01.05.2015 - 28.06.2015 20th Century Visionaries. Print and Photographs from the Permanent Collection - St. Louis University Museum of Art, Saint Louis.
  • 13.02.2015 - 20.02.2016 A Modern adventure. Renault Art Collection Exhibition -  Today Art Museum of Beijing.
  • 04.11.2014 - 20.12.2014 Impressions (New York). The Fine Art of Original Prints - Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London.
  • 05.06.2014 - 31.07.2014 Sam Francis - Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London.
  • 17.05.2013 - 07.10.2013 Views from above - Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz.
  • 22.03.2013 - 09.06.2013 Von Beckmann bis Warhol. Die Sammlung Bayer - Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin.



  • 1962: Grand Prix 3rd International Biennal Exhibition of Prints, Tokyo.
  • 1968: Honorary Doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley USA.
  • 1981: Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Paris.
  • 1994: Distinguished Alumnus Award of the University Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley.



  • The Painter Sam Francis, Documentation by Jeffrey Perkins, 1h 25min, USA 2008.



  • Sam Francis: The  Artist Materials, Debra Burchett-Lere & Aneta Zebala (Publ.), Los Angeles 2019.
  • Sam Francis, John Yau, London 2014.
  • Sam Francis: Catalogue Raisonné of Canvas and Panel Paintings, 1946-1994, Debra Burchett-Lere (Publ.), USA 2011.
  • Sam Francis. Color is the essence of it all, Marian Winsryg & Jerry Aistrip (Publ.), Santa Monica 2003.
  • Sam Francis - Paintings 1947-1992, William C. Agee, Los Angeles 1999.
  • Sam Francis, Richard Fernhout, Delaive, Amsterdam 1996.


Own Writings

  • Aphorisms, Sam Francis, Santa Monica 1984.