Newspaper photo of Francis painting in the "Bradford frame" hoisted above hospital bed at Fort Miley, March 18, 1946; photo by Acme, San Francisco Bureau.

The Space of Effusion: Sam Francis in Japan
Richard Speer
Edited and with a foreword by Debra Burchett-Lere


From the very first exhibitions Francis had in Tokyo, critics linked his evocative use of negative space with the Japanese concept of ma, a symbolically rich interval between objects or ideas. This shared pictorial and philosophical syntax laid the foundation for a feedback loop of mutual influence that spurred frequent collaborations between the artist and his Japanese contemporaries, extending into the realms of printmaking, ceramics, music, poetry, publishing, and performance.


Written by art critic and curator Richard Speer, with a foreword by Debra Burchett-Lere, executive director and president of the Sam Francis Foundation, this is the first full-length monograph to explore an important but sometimes overlooked milieu in Post-World War II art—a dialogue between Eastern and Western sensibilities that prefigured our current era of global interconnectedness and cross-cultural exchange. Lavishly illustrated with color plates and archival images, it is an adjunct publication for the related exhibition Sam Francis and Japan: Emptiness Overflowing Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2021), co-curated by Speer.


The Sam Francis Foundation is dedicated to the transformative power of art as a force for change. The events of the past week have highlighted even more the importance of life and art as they intersect. We join the world in mourning, protest, and solidarity for EQUAL RIGHTS and BLACK LIVES MATTER. There is much work to be done and we are even more committed to addressing the climate of racism and inequality through education and engagement of the cultural, social, and environmental challenges of the day.

Newspaper photo of Francis painting in the "Bradford frame" hoisted above hospital bed at Fort Miley, March 18, 1946; photo by Acme, San Francisco Bureau.

Sam Francis at the Paris bird market. 1950's; photo by Carol Haerer.

Sam Francis: The Compilation of Unique Works on Paper and Expanded Version of Canvas and Panel Paintings


Welcome to the Sam Francis: Online Catalogue Raisonné Project, a scholarly resource dedicated to the life and oeuvre of the American-born abstract expressionist Sam Francis (1923–1994).


This installment documents all known unique works attributed to the artist from 1945 through 1953. The Sam Francis Foundation will regularly release portions of the catalogue raisonné sequentially for artworks through 1994 as we continue our research and documentation.


This project is a subscription-based educational service.


There are two ways to subscribe:


  • BASIC (no cost)
  • EXPANDED (annual fee)


Please see the PLAN DETAILS for complete information.


Submissions for the Sam Francis: Online Catalogue Raisonné Project are always welcome.

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