DESIGN FOR KORNFELD
DESIGN FOR KORNFELDUNTITLEDUNTITLEDUNTITLEDUNTITLEDUNTITLED (LAPIS)UNTITLEDUNTITLEDUNTITLEDUNTITLEDUNTITLEDUNTITLEDUNTITLED (86-027)UNTITLEDUNTITLED (74-811)
Sam Francis
SAN MATEO 1923 - 1994 SANTA MONICA
DESIGN FOR KORNFELD
1966
ACRYLIC ON PAPER
NOT SIGNED
INSCRIBED WITH BLACK INK BY THE ARTIST
ON VERSO: „COVER DESIGN BACK FOR 1966 EXPO“
STAMPED ON VERSO WITH THE SAM FRANCIS ESTATE LOGO STAMP

57 X 31 CM
PROVENANCE

ESTATE OF THE ARTIST

LITERATURE

THIS WORK IS REGISTERED UNDER THE ARCHIVE OF THE SAM FRANCIS FOUNDATION (CA) AND NUMBERED 66-019. THIS INFORMATION MAY CHANGE ON THE BASIS OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH BY THE SAM FRANCIS FOUNDATION.

Sam Francis was born in San Mateo, California in 1923. As a cosmopolitan in the best sense, he led his life on three continents. In addition to his native USA, where he lived primarily in California and New York, this outstanding artistic figure had strong ties in Europe with Paris and Bern. His great fascination for Asia, numerous long stays, and an official residence in Tokyo also left an indelible mark on Francis and added an epoch-making spiritual dimension to his oeuvre. Beginning with the ”Action Painting”, the pioneering accomplishments and stylistic paths broken by an older generation of American artists – Jackson Pollock’s dripping method, Clyfford Still’s calligraphic monumentality, Mark Rothko’s enigmatic superimposed veils of colour, and the works of Abstract Expressionism with their liberation of the paint – also played an inspiring role for him. In his works, the force of pure, spreading colour dominates, in which – in keeping with the concept of the “overall” – the traces point beyond the edges. If grey and white dominated during his European period, towards the end of his life it was blue, a brilliant blue, a blue of the sky and the sea, that he integrated into his paintings in loose constellations and vestiges. The other colours he used likewise evoke associations with elementary experiences of nature and landscape. The artist’s virtually calligraphic application of the paint and the pleasure he took in experimentation with colour and form as well as techniques and structures led to distinctive compositions which, regardless of the new formulations they contain, rhythmically recur again and again. The world of feelings and the intellectual/spiritual exploration of themes and colours were both part of Francis’s ongoing meditative-creative process in which the intuitive inward realm and the consciousness engage in interplay with one another. Sam Francis gave expression to his personality, his conceptions and reflections, his emotionality and experience in his unique works so that every one of his artworks bears the imprint of the artist and his spiritual-philosophical investigation of the polarities of life. During his lifetime, Sam Francis’s work was shown in countless international solo and group exhibitions. His death in 1994 ended a grandiose career that carved out a prominent place for itself in the history of art.


 


Dynamic and vitality are the first associations that come to mind at the sight of this work. With its unconventional structure, this composition by the famous artist exhibits an idiosyncratic character that only comes entirely into its own if we take our time to explore it. The picture’s painted frame introduces an element of order to the isolated splotches of paint and traces of dripping in the interior in such a way that the latter combine with the white background to form the image of a face. It is unclear whether this association is deliberate or unintentional and a product of chance. Nor can it be said with certainty whether the rhythmic composition is the result of a spontaneous and intuitive act of creation or a systematically constructed pictorial programme. Originally the work was supposed to be folded in the middle to serve the gallery owner and close friend of the artist’s Eberhard W. Kornfeld as the cover of an invitation card. In any case, the outstanding composition can be considered a characteristic work in the artist’s œuvre and thus as part of a work series of major art-historical significance.