Untitled 1985, San Leandro presents the distinctive saturated colors of Sam Francis in the dynamic format of a shaped canvas. It is a masterwork of composition and color that has remained in the same private collection for nearly 20 years. Characteristic of Francis’s work from the 1980s, a vibrant serpentine form is contained within the irregular shape of the canvas. Influenced by time spent in Japan, Francis embraced the concept of “ma”, which emphasizes negative space to evoke a sense of place. In Francis’s work, white space is a compositional element as crucial as the color.
An essential West Coast abstract painter, Sam Francis has received many solo exhibitions at major institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1972 and the Museum of Modern Art, Toyama, Japan in 1988. His work was also included in the momentous Post Painterly Abstraction exhibition organized by Clement Greenberg at LACMA in 1964.