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In this painting the American artist Sam Francis places small and larger patches of blue, green yellow, purplish-pink and orange and black paint next to each other. Sometimes they overlap or flow into each other; sometimes the white of the canvas remains visible between them. The marks are predominantly in the left and top part of the canvas; the part that is at the bottom right is almost entirely white. In several places the paint has been applied so thinly that it flows down. In the white part there are countless small spatters of paint.
Francis was injured in the Second World War and was forced to convalesce for a long time. He became fascinated by the reflections and the colours caused by light in his white hospital room and decided on painting as a profession. In 1947 he made his first abstract painting and his work was classified as Abstract Expressionism. In 1950 he moved to Paris where he remained for a few years and was introduced to the work of French masters such as Monet, Bonnard and Matisse. He was attracted by the feeling for light and colour which radiates from their paintings. He also worked with bright colours himself. His compositions often seem to be cut off at the edge of the canvas, which gives the impression that they extend outside the frame of the painting and that they are parts of a larger whole. In this respect Francis’s work was similar to that of Poliakoff and Bazaine, members of the École de Paris.
In 1957 Francis went on a world tour, visiting Japan amongst other places. After his introduction to oriental Asian art and calligraphy, the white which was already playing a clear role in his paintings at the time became increasingly important in his work. After 1960, his work was no longer based on visible reality. It exclusively concerned visual principles such as the rhythm of the forms that were used and the intensity of the colours.
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