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Sam Francis

Born in 1923, Sam Francis originally read psychology and medicine before studying painting under Mark Rothko and Clyfford Still. He travelled to Europe and stayed in Paris from 1948 until 1950, only settling in California in 1962. During the 1960s he developed his own distinctive style of spontaneous and gestural ‘dripping' which he was to develop until his death in 1994.

Of all the abstract expressionists, Francis was the most prolific graphic artist and the most committed to the possibilities of printmaking. Between 1960 and 1990 he made over 300 lithographs, 200 screenprints and 125 etchings as well as a number of unique experimental and trial proofs. Experimentation was an integral part of his printmaking process. Throughout the full range of his graphic work, from the early lithographs right up to the minimal ‘edge' prints, it seems that Francis never considered any single image to be an end-point, but just one of a number of possibilities. In 1970 Francis's commitment to printmaking was underlined when he established his own printing workshop in Santa Monica, California, called the Litho Shop.

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