New York

Sam Francis

André Emmerich Gallery

Like a flash of calculated good taste and class, the first painting opens out on the periphery like a high dynasty Chinese scroll. The familiar wide-tracked areas of water splashed with aqueous color skew across the immaculate white with energy and grace. If you are an artist looking for a great mix, that’s one of the best. SAM FRANCIS’ elegant composition would be more indebted to Kline if it didn’t seem so easy and offhand. There is little room here for constant, meticulous adjustments, especially with Francis’ noncorrectable stain and spread techniques. The simplifications, the changings of one’s mind, the nonfinality of it all—these things just aren’t part of the Francis esthetic, and it proves he’s not really an Abstract Expressionist in the time-honored sense.

There are some very dense, very dark paintings here. All the paintings except for the one on the paper scroll begin with a

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