Tribute to the painter Sam Francis in the Museum JAN

On the occasion of the 100th birthday of Sam Francis (1923-1994), Museum JAN in Amstelveen pays tribute to this American painter. In the exhibition Tribute to Sam Francis, on view from 3 February to 21 May 2023, a selection of Francis’ works from his own collection will be complemented by special loans from art collector and Francis enthusiast Nico Delaive.

Francis is often associated with Abstract Expressionism, a post-war American painting movement, but developed his own style after his introduction to European and Eastern (modern) art. Francis became known for his paintings with expressive colors in a ‘controlled chaos’ of spots, drops, lines and strokes.


(Source Wikipedia – 2023)

Sam Francis (1923 – 1994) – a noted American abstract expressionist painter and printmaker in 1968


Sam Francis (1923-1994, California, USA). Francis served in the US Air Force during World War II. In 1944, while in the Air Corps, he was diagnosed with spinal tuberculosis. He spent several years in hospital and it was there, after a visit by the artist David Park in 1945, that he began to paint. Once out of the hospital, he returned to Berkeley, this time to study art. He received both his BA (1949) and MA (1950) degrees in art from the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied botany, medicine and psychology.

Francis’ works from the early 1970s are also referred to as Fresh Air photographs. Created by adding puddles, drips and splashes of color to wet strokes of paint applied with a roller, these works confirmed the artist’s interest in color. Between 1973 and 1974, many of Francis’s paintings had a formal grid or matrix of intersecting traces of color. Many of these matrix works were large in size, up to six meters long.

After 1980, the formal structure of the grid gradually disappeared from Francis’ work. He was extremely active as a printmaker, creating numerous etchings, lithographs and monotypes, many of which were executed in Santa Monica at the Litho Shop owned by Francis.

Photo Amstelveen
Photo Amstelveenweb.com – 2016)

Paintings by Sam Francis in Museum Jan van der Togt on September 2, 2016 in Oude-Dorp in Amstelveen

In 1984, Francis founded The Lapis Press with the aim of producing unusual and topical texts in visually appealing formats.

Splashes and drips dominate in Francis’ work. They appear to have appeared by chance, but Francis carefully directed the drip of the thin oil paint across the plane. Gradually, the white spaces played a greater role in his compositions, as islands of calm between the colors.

During the last year of his life, suffering from prostate cancer and unable to paint with his right hand after a fall, in a last burst of energy he used his left hand to complete a dazzling series of some 150 small paintings before he died. He died in Santa Monica and was buried in Olema in Marin County, California.

Photo Amstelveen
(Photo Amstelveenweb.com – 2023)

Visual artist Jan Verschoor (1943) was also present at the New Year’s reception in the municipality of Amstelveen on January 2, 2023


100 years Sam Francis 180 years Jan Verschoor. Collector and founder of Museum JAN, Jan van der Togt (1905-1995), was a great admirer of Sam Francis’ colorful paintings. He amassed one of Europe’s largest Francis collections. He liked to combine these paintings with his collection of glass art, recognizing a similar play of light, color and transparency.

In addition to Francis’ works, the exhibition room shows pictures of artist and co-founder of this museum, Jan Verschoor (1943), who celebrates his 80th birthday this year. His graceful sculptures interact with Francis’s explosive, overwhelming paintings.

About Museum JAN. Museum JAN is a museum in Amstelveen for contemporary art and design. The own collection consists of unique glass objects, collected by the founder Jan van der Togt. He collected top art by Dutch greats such as Andries Copier as well as avant-garde Czech glass artists Václav Cigler and Stanislav Libensky. In addition to this distinctive collection, Museum JAN offers a broad and appealing exhibition program. Address: Museum JAN Dorpsstraat 50 1182 JE Amstelveen +31 (0)20 641 57 54 info@museumjan.nl https://nl.museumjan.nl/

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