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Artforum, February 1973

Lawrence Alloway’s consideration of the work of Sam Francis ran in Artforum thirty years ago. Senior editor Eric Banks reassesses the career of the once-influential postwar critic.

THIRTY YEARS AGO THIS MONTH, Artforum published a five-page feature on the career of Sam Francis on the occasion of the artist’s retrospective at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, in Buffalo. Marked by the rather harsh judgment of its author (“Francis is a far less subtle painter in the ’60s than he was in the ’50s and similar declines can be proposed . . . in the cases of Noland, Stamos, Stella, and [Raymond] Parker”), the article was written by Lawrence Alloway (1926–90), a critic who had become a familiar presence in these pages. Over the previous year alone he had contributed studies of Lichtenstein, Rosenquist, and Smithson, covered Documenta 5, and written the essay “Network: The Art World Described as a

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