Sam Francis Foundation to debut Online Catalogue Raisonne Project

L to R: Sam Francis, Untitled [Berkeley], 1948. Watercolor on paper, 19 x 25 3/4 inches. SFF4.61. © 2018 Sam Francis Foundation, California/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Photo of Sam Francis painting from his hospital bed at Fort Miley Hospital, March 18, 1946. Photo by Acme, San Francisco Bureau

LOS ANGELES – The Sam Francis Foundation will release the first installment of Sam Francis: Online Catalogue Raisonné Project — The Compilation of Unique Works on Paper and Expanded Version of Canvas and Panel Paintings on April 18, 2018.

This first installment contains 201 entries documenting currently known unique works on paper and canvas and panel paintings attributed to American artist Sam Francis from 1945 through 1949. The online catalogue raisonné project (SFCR) will ultimately document the entire oeuvre of this extremely prolific artist and will be available to a global audience.

One of the 20th century’s leading interpreters of light and color, Sam Francis (1923–1994) was one of the first post-World War II painters to develop an international reputation. He maintained studios in Bern, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, and Tokyo, and his work references New York Abstract Expressionism, Color Field Painting, Chinese and Japanese art, French Impressionism, and his own Bay Area roots. Francis created thousands of paintings as well as works on paper, prints, and monotypes, which are housed in major museum collections and institutions around the world.

The online catalogue raisonné expands upon the decades of research presented in Sam Francis: Catalogue Raisonné of Canvas and Panel Paintings, 1946–1994 published by the University of California Press in 2011. SFCR is an interactive digital platform that presents for the first time unique works on paper and new information compiled by Editor Debra Burchett-Lere, Project Manager Beth Ann Whittaker, Contributors Leila Elliott and Stephanie Velazquez, and a team of photography editors, who have conducted extensive research with the Sam Francis Foundation’s in-house archives as well as the Getty Research Institute’s holdings.

A large Sam Francis acrylic on canvas painting, ‘Quiet Fruitfulness,’ fetched $579,500 at Palm Beach Modern Auctions in May 2017. Photo courtesy of Palm Beach Modern Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.

Embracing the artist’s creative and innovative spirit, the “living catalogue raisonné” will be amended regularly, both with new entries and with updates to existing pages, which will be time-stamped as they are modified. “We are thrilled to launch this first volume of Sam Francis’s digital catalogue raisonné, SFCR, which highlights the latest and most exhaustive research on the artist available to anyone, anywhere,” says Debra Burchett-Lere, Director of the Sam Francis Foundation. “It furthers the Foundation’s mission as it enables the international audience, to whom Francis was so significant, to access his vast oeuvre and learn new information about him as it is being discovered.”

In recognition of Sam Francis’s broad and prolific output, the SFCR will be made available in chronological installments, giving audiences the opportunity to immerse themselves in each stage of his artistic development. Upon this initial release, access to the data will be free to the public for a trial period via https://cr.samfrancisfoundation.org. The trial period will introduce users to Francis’s work from 1945 through 1949 through the SFCR’s multilevel, archival, and relational elements.

Developed with panOpticon, a catalogue raisonné software program specifically designed to be informational and conducive to art research, the SFCR will function much like a traditional printed catalogue raisonné. Future volumes will include thumbnail data on each artwork, which will be available to the public, and fully expanded entries, which will be available to subscribers.

Sam Francis said about his work, “These paintings approach you where you are,” and with this new development, the artist’s words take on new meaning, as his oeuvre now addresses viewers wherever they—and their digital devices—are or want to be.

An untitled 1988 acrylic on canvas by Sam Francis brought $425,000 at Heritage Auctions in May 2014. Photo courtesy of Heritage Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

About the Sam Francis Foundation

Building on Sam Francis’s creative legacy, the Sam Francis Foundation is dedicated to the transformative power of art as a force for change. Its mission is to further a greater understanding of Sam Francis’s art and ideas through a broad array of programs and activities designed to educate, inform, and catalyze new thinking about the importance of creativity in society.

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