Samuel Francis was born in 1923 in California. His family was defined by a rich heritage and culture, counting Samuel Pepys, Paul Revere and Henri Tolouse-Lautrec among their ancestors. Francis began painting in his early twenties. He privately studied painting under David Park, pioneer of the Bay Area Figurative School. During this time, Francis became part of the Abstract Expressionism movement as a second-generation artist. Though largely self-taught, by the summer of 1950, he was at the frontier of becoming a significant Post-War American painter. Francis travelled widely throughout his career. He enrolled at the Fernand Léger Atelier in Paris where he became familiar with Pierre Bonnard’s and Henri Matisse’s explorations of colour and light. The lessons he absorbed from his time in Paris resulted in immediate critical acclaim and led to his association with Art Informel, though he was never formally tied to any movement. Several years spent in Japan influenced his appreciation of the importance of whiteness and the idea of the void. His paintings, as the Japanese poet and critic Yoshiaki Tono aptly noted, are of a “completely calculated Innocence”, a reference to the intuitive simplicity and understated nature of Francis’ oeuvre.