White line (SF59-283). 1959. Gouache and watercolor. Verso signed, dated and with arrow indicating the direction. On wove paper by Whatman (with blidnstamp). 100.9 x 67.5 cm (39.7 x 26.5 in), the full sheet. [EL].
The work is registered at the Samuel L. Francis Foundation, Glendale/California, with the interims archive number "SF59-283" and will be included into the upcoming catalogue raisonné "Sam Francis: Catalogue Raisonné of Unique Works on Paper".
PROVENANCE: Modern nineteenth and twentieth century art, Part I, Galerie Kornfeld, Bern 17 June 1987, lot 49 (with color illu.) Private collection Southern Germany.
In many of Sam Francis' works the center seems to be blank. The coloring of this exquisite work on paper is only circumscribed at top and the right margin, which adds enormous tension to the work. It organizes the virtual reference point of the surface from which the composition gains its tremendous energy. As a representative of a rather lyrical form of Abstract Expressionism Sam Francis' focus is less on the momentary impulse of the Action Painting and more on the poetic effect of the color combinations. "Color is a pattern that becomes apparent on the membrane of the mind" (Sam Francis, in: Künstler. Kritisches Lexikon der Gegenwartskunst, Munich 1994, p. 2). It is the apparently oversized monochrome main part that adds a symbiosis of rest and motion to the composition of marginal fields of strong colors.