An Abstract Expressionist painter known for his brilliant use of light and splotch-like colored shapes, Sam Francis became one of the most famous artists of the second half of the 20th Century.
He attended the University of California at Berkeley from 1941 to 1943 where he studied psychology and medicine. Then he joined the Army Air Corps during the Second World War. His service was cut short by an air crash that led to spinal tuberculosis. Spending several years in hospital in the San Francisco Bay area, Francis took up painting as a form of therapy and through it found a way back to life. In 1947, he studied privately with abstract figurative painter David Park before completing his BA and MA at the University of California.
He was a member of the Bay Area Abstract Group; a group that included luminaries like Clyfford Still, David Park, and Richard Diebenkorn. Francis experimented with different styles of painting, notably Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism. By the late 1940s, he developed his own unique styles of painting like the use of the irregular-cell or blotlike color-shape and a preference for thinned oil and acrylic pigments.