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Sam Francis, Very First Stone, 1959-68

Very First Stone, 1959-68

Lithograph in 2 colors
on Crisbrook paper
31 1/2 in. x 22 1/2 in. (80.01 cm x 57.15 cm)
Edition of 25

About the Artist

After receiving his BA and MA from the University of California at Berkeley in 1950, Sam Francis (1923-1994) moved to Paris where he attended the Atelier Fernand Léger and was exposed to the work of Bonnard, Matisse, and Monet; and made his first mural sized works. Francis was drawn back to New York and began to share a studio with Larry Rivers. Rivers was already working with Tatyana Grosman at ULAE and introduced Mrs. Grosman and Francis. However, it took almost a decade for Francis to complete an edition with ULAE. Initially, Francis saw lithography as a “commercial process,” but was immediately attracted to surface of the stones and the oppositions and appositions the medium presented. In 1958 Francis began to work on stones for ULAE, but left for Europe in 1960 with the edition still unprinted. It was not until 1967 that the stones were finally editioned. While Francis did not print the majority of his editions with ULAE, his philosophy surrounding lithography was inspired by Mrs. Grosman’s: the stone is an ultimately mysterious entity, but the mysteries of the technique should be left in the hands of printers. On lithography Francis said, “I like to wash the stone, but I don’t know what lithography really is, but perhaps through the stone I may find out who I am and what I am for.”

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