"Painting is about the beauty of space and the power of containment."
Sam Francis (San Mateo, California, 1923 — Santa Monica, California, 1994) was an American painter and printmaker. Though he worked in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II, he was injured and began to paint for the first time while recuperating. He decided to embark on an artistic career while working under David Park, ultimately obtaining a B.A. and M.A. from the University of California at Berkeley. While he was greatly influenced by abstract expressionism, he moved to Paris in 1950, where he studied Monet’s Water Lilies intensively and formed friendships with the Matisse family, Al Held, Joan Mitchell, and Jean-Paul Riopelle. This lengthy exposure to French painting had a great impact on the artist. He later traveled to Tokyo, Switzerland, and Mexico City, ultimately living in Tokyo for a few years. Francis returned to California in 1962, and the West Coast interest in Eastern philosophy and mysticism also had a great influence on his work. His abstractions are characterized by bold splashes of color alongside an emphasis on the white of the canvas, related to his interest in Zen Buddhism. He created thousands of paintings and works on paper, prints, and monotypes.