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1960 Sam Francis Born: San Mateo, California 1923 Died: Santa Monica, California 1994 gouache on paper 29 3/4 x 22 1/4 in. (75.6 x 56.5 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of Edith S. and Arthur J. Levin 2005.5.31 Not currently on view

Exhibition Label

In this composition, drips and spatters of paint lend dynamism to organic forms that are pushed to the sides of the sheet, as if repelled by a magnetic force. Aligning the circular shapes at the edges of the sheet while leaving a relatively blank center, Francis challenged traditional principles of composition. The central void suggests two aspects of science – the vast expanse of outer space and the minuscule distances between microscopic forms.

Graphic Masters II: Highlights from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2009