Sam Francis: Paintings 1947-1990

Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles


We find him an artist in search of a persona—a common mistake: he might have been Bram van Velde. What bridges the gap is Paris and the Orangerie, where he sees the Grands Nymphéas of Claude Monet for the first time, and this provokes the waterfall, et toujours entre notre cœur éclaté et la cascade apparu (Char).

Blue Balls VII
oil on canvas
81 x 81 in.

There follows a varied deployment in the field: tender masses flock (appear in various guises) as thin leaks or turgid appliqués; he is sometimes the amasser of heaps of glories, sometimes the “ringleader of the dry well your distances, o my love, provision.” (Char)

acrylic on paper
22 x 30 in.

Untitled No. 10
acrylic and oil on canvas
88 x 139 in.