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Sam Francis

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October 12, 2012 | By Lauren Beale, Los Angeles Times
The former live-work compound of artist Sam Francis is on the market in Santa Monica at $18.75 million. The reinvented property features two houses, waterfalls, a bridge, glass walkways over stream beds and Japanese gardens on nearly half an acre. There are eight bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, a bar, a media room, an office, a wine cellar and a sauna in an 8,000-square-foot main house and a 4,400-square-foot secondary home. Francis, who died in 1994 at 71, was a painter, muralist and printmaker whose works were influenced by Abstract Expressionists and, later, Zen Buddhism.
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August 13, 2013 | By Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times Art Critic
Probably the most significant Sam Francis painting in an American collection is "Basel Mural I," which hangs in Pasadena's Norton Simon Museum. Part of an epic 1956 commission from a Swiss museum director, the canvas assembles patchy clouds of veiled, liquid color - watery blue, bright yellow and deep orange - that seem to grow and multiply like organic cells within a luminous white field. When it was finally installed two years later in the grand stairwell of the Basel Kunsthalle with its pair of companion paintings, the trio cemented Francis' reputation as a major artist.
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January 25, 1997 | WILLIAM WILSON, TIMES ART CRITIC
During the Cold War, abstract art served Western democracies as a symbol of individualism. We crowed at the contrast between the experimental art of, say, Jackson Pollock and the dreary conformity of the Soviet bloc's Socialist Realism. Now that's all over. The West itself leans to a more collective mentality and our view of Abstract Expressionism is being redefined. A current witness to this shift is Pepperdine University's "Sam Francis: The Archetypal Image."
BUSINESS
October 12, 2012 | By Lauren Beale, Los Angeles Times
The former live-work compound of artist Sam Francis is on the market in Santa Monica at $18.75 million. The reinvented property features two houses, waterfalls, a bridge, glass walkways over stream beds and Japanese gardens on nearly half an acre. There are eight bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, a bar, a media room, an office, a wine cellar and a sauna in an 8,000-square-foot main house and a 4,400-square-foot secondary home. Francis, who died in 1994 at 71, was a painter, muralist and printmaker whose works were influenced by Abstract Expressionists and, later, Zen Buddhism.
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March 23, 1995 | SUSAN KANDEL, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
At Manny Silverman Gallery is a fine selection of the paintings of renowned artist Sam Francis, who died last year at the age of 71. The hagiographic nature of this exhibition is made clear from the outset: At the front door is a glass case much like a reliquary, which contains the artist's paint-spattered tennis shoes, notebooks and brushes. This kind of dramaturgy is unfortunate, and very much detracts from Francis' art, which since the 1950s has been determinedly anti-romantic.
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November 7, 1994 | WILLIAM WILSON, TIMES ART CRITIC
To be an artist in Los Angeles is to court an unusual kind of obscurity. Sam Francis, who died of cancer Saturday night at age 71, behaved as if he knew that. For three decades of cocktail parties, his name was trotted out along with a handful of others to give the lie to anyone accusing Angeltown of being a town without great painters. "Why, it is not. We have John McLaughlin, Richard Diebenkorn and (to deliver the coup de grace to the vulgar Lotusland-basher) Sam Francis .
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May 2, 1993 | NANCY KAPITANOFF, Nancy Kapitanoff writes regularly about art for The Times
Art consultant Connie Lembark decided a few years ago to do something special for her longtime friend, internationally renowned Los Angeles artist Sam Francis. Awed by his work the first time she saw it 30 years ago, she wanted to buy a painting. He was reluctant to sell her one until the day she brought her chicken soup to his studio. He loved it, she got the painting and they've been friends ever since.
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September 16, 1993 | SUZANNE MUCHNIC, TIMES ART WRITER
Sam Francis, an internationally acclaimed artist known for exuberant, spiritually charged abstractions, has given 10 of his paintings to the Museum of Contemporary Art. The donation, including major works from 1951 to 1992, is the largest single gift to MOCA from an artist in the museum's history, museum Director Richard Koshalek said.
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August 18, 1996 | Kristine McKenna, Kristine McKenna is a regular contributor to Calendar
With Abstract Expressionism, the archetype of the artist as messianic hero with powers beyond those of mortal men was thrown into high relief. Espousing a testosterone-infused idealism that seems touchingly dated today, the Action painters appropriated the Surrealist notion of Automatism and souped it up to express the anarchistic beatitude of the Beats, the philosophical tenets of Zen Buddhism and the last gasp of the can-do American dream.
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April 21, 1991 | SUZANNE MUCHNIC, Suzanne Muchnic writes about art for The Times
"I'm a spender. I spend myself," Sam Francis says in a moment of self-assessment. Those who know him best agree. The 67-year-old artist travels too extensively, reads too widely, inquires too deeply, supports too many cultural and charitable projects, cultivates friendships too carefully, marries too often and--until a recent illness forced him into a diet and exercise regimen--eats and drinks too much to be a model of moderation.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 2, 2011 | By Jori Finkel and Mike Boehm, Los Angeles Times
For decades, gallery owners in California have wished that the state's Resale Royalty Act of 1976, which provides artists with 5% of the sales price of artworks when they are resold under certain conditions, would just go away. While some dealers follow the law and pay the royalty to artists, others do not. But it's hard to track what artists may be owed in either case, given the difficulty of getting the galleries to disclose information on their sales. Now, working to force some disclosures as well as recover money, the foundation of the late abstract painter Sam Francis is the lead plaintiff in class-action lawsuits filed Tuesday against nine galleries in Northern and Southern California.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 25, 2009 | By Suzanne Muchnic
"Basel Mural I," an abstract painting by Sam Francis, is one of the high points of the Norton Simon Museum's contemporary art collection. Stretching nearly 13 feet high and 20 feet wide, the free-spirited, dripped and splashed composition commands a full wall at the Pasadena museum. But it's only one of three panels made in 1956-58 for the Kunsthalle Basel in Switzerland. The triptych will never again be whole. But -- in one of those twists of human will and fate that spice up the provenance of artworks -- two substantial sections of a panel damaged more than 40 years ago and salvaged by the artist have been reunited with the Simon's painting.
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November 21, 2009 | PATT MORRISON
Paul Schimmel doesn't need much encouragement to squire a guest around the Museum of Contemporary Art's galleries, which he does with the zest of a house-proud homeowner. And why shouldn't he? Next month, MOCA's chief curator celebrates 20 years with the museum, which has just put up a big, gorgeous show of its collections for its own "First Thirty Years" celebration. Neither anniversary might have happened. Money troubles threw a sincere scare about MOCA's survivability into the art world and the city.
HOME & GARDEN
March 27, 2008 | Bettijane Levine, Times Staff Writer
TURN off the road, pass through blank-faced gates and the house rises at the end of a drive -- an angular blank canvas silhouetted against the sky. Through an aperture in all that whiteness -- actually a pair of mammoth glass doors, perfectly aligned at the home's front and back -- sun dances on the Pacific, boats bob on the horizon, and Santa Catalina Island comes into focus. Only then does realization strike: You are at land's end. That is the first surprise at the house of the Arnoldis -- author Katie and artist Charles, who designed it after getting a bit of advice from a friend named Gehry.
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November 14, 2004 | Louise Roug, Times Staff Writer
ED MOSES is looking for Picasso. But as the 78-year-old painter makes his way through the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena on a recent Sunday, he is distracted by a Sam Francis painting. Scattered islands of translucent azure, mauve, purple, saffron and scarlet float at the top of the light-filled canvas. "He had such a flair for color," Moses says as he sits down on a bench facing the "Basel Mural I," which covers an entire wall. "The forms sort of dance around and eventually they break open."
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April 11, 1999 | SUZANNE MUCHNIC, Suzanne Muchnic is The Times' art writer
"When I left in 1974, I didn't think Los Angeles could get something like this going," said William C. Agee, surveying the vast space at the Geffen Contemporary of the Museum of Contemporary Art, where the Sam Francis retrospective he organized is attracting critical praise and crowds of appreciative visitors.
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November 19, 1996 | SUZANNE MUCHNIC, TIMES ART WRITER
Sam Francis died two years ago, ending a painting career that spanned half a century and brought him international renown, but he still has a vital presence. In the first commercial exhibition of artworks drawn from the artist's estate, the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills is presenting large abstractions from 1965-83 that might have been designed for the gallery's soaring, light-filled space. Francis is also a player in this week's contemporary art auctions in New York.
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May 28, 1995 | Kristine McKenna, Kristine McKenna is a regular contributor to Calendar.
The year preceding painter Sam Francis' death last Nov. 4 at age 71 was a difficult one for him. Bedridden with a cancer that was detected in 1987, Francis saw his life as an artist change dramatically because of his illness. A central figure in the second generation of Abstract Expressionists that emerged in the early 1950s, Francis took American abstraction into new territory by infusing his work with elements of Eastern philosophy, Jungian psychology and the glorious palette of Matisse.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 9, 1999 | CHRISTOPHER KNIGHT, TIMES ART CRITIC
Getting a handle on the career of Sam Francis (1923-1994) has never been easy. Despite his stature and the apparent familiarity of his work, he's always seemed to be something of an artistic odd man out. Born in San Mateo, educated at UC Berkeley and a resident of L.A.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 8, 1999
Christopher Knight reviews "Sam Francis: Paintings 1947-1990" at MOCA's Geffen Contemporary.
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