I have been looking through the recently issued "Sam Francis: Catalogue Raisonné of Canvas and Panel Paintings, 1946 - 1994", and finding myself wowed by the inventiveness, nimble brushwork, and sumptuous color of Francis' works. Today, June 25th, 2012, would have been the artist's 89th birthday.
Sam Francis in his Santa Monica Studio, 1979: Photo by Meibao D. Nee
Because Francis worked and exhibited all over the world, his paintings have been scattered, and the Catalogue Raisonné, is an opportunity to savor works -- more than 1,850 paintings on canvas and panels -- that have been scattered across the globe. Prior to the publication of the CR, more than 600 of the works had not previously been documented.
The Sam Francis 'Catalogue Raisonné' consists of two DVDs and a book, presented in a linen case.
Debra Burchett-Lere, the Director of the Sam Francis Foundation, felt that the image library of the "Catalogue Raisonné" would be best presented digitally, so "looking through" means clicking through a searchable DVD letting a Francis painting fill the computer screen. The images are zoomable, and every effort has been made to find the best possible photograph of each work. Click through the slideshow below to see some of the works I discovered and savored. From a simple vase of yellow flowers painted in 1946 to a small dripped canvas the artist made with his left hand the year he died, each work I chose displays the "something special" that Francis, one of the great colorists of the Twentieth Century, infused into each of his works. Don't miss the Sam Francis surfboard -- made for artist Ed Ruscha -- at the end of the slideshow.
The Foundation is actively seeking images of unique Sam Francis works on paper for an additional catalogue raisonné, so click here to find out more about the project.