The most prominent American member of the European Avante Garde movement of the 1950s, Sam Francis is internationally recognized as one of the outstanding abstract painters of the twentieth century. A mainstay in the collections of most major galleries and museums, Francis’s work can be found at the Museum of Modern Art; New York, the National Museum of Modern Art; Tokyo, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, and the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art. Born in San Mateo, California, Francis initially studied medicine at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1943 he entered the Army Air Corps, and it was during his recuperation from an injury there that he took up painting. Francis pursued his new vocation at his alma mater, and also at the San Francisco Art Institute. He moved to Paris in the 1950s, where he attended the Académie Léger, and achieved his first international fame. Francis returned to the United States but continued to travel widely, gathering particular inspiration from his trips to Asia, and especially Japan. His work is often characterized by luminous islands of bright colour and spontaneous and gestural methods of paint application. Many of his pieces feature large areas of white canvas surrounded by sweeping clusters of colourful shapes. Besides painting, Francis also experimented with lithography, monotype, and etching. Hailed in 1956 as the “Hottest American painter in Paris,” Sam Francis’s is respected internationally to this day.