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Los Angeles, USA

Since 1978, Jonathan Novak Contemporary Art has been an important source for Post-War and Contemporary American and European art. The current gallery location opened in 2000 and is located in the heart of Century City, adjacent to Beverly Hills and the west side of Los Angeles. Gallery inventory includes paintings, drawings, sculpture, and prints by established artists from significant Post-War movements including Abstract Expressionism, Color Field, Minimalism, Pop Art, and Photorealism.


Unless otherwise noted, Sam Francis artworks and archival photographs are copyright © 2021 Sam Francis Foundation, California/Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.

Image:

Sam Francis, East Mother, 1971, Lithograph, Cancellation Proof

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SAM FRANCIS - SPECIAL PROOFS AT JONATHAN NOVAK CONTEMPORARY ART

Sam Francis made a large number of limited-editioned works during the course of his artistic career. When an artist has printed all the works that comprise an edition (including artist proofs, trial proofs and “states”), a final cancellation proof is created. These proofs comprise the final “pull” from the plate, and, generally, the artist or the printer will deface the plate itself before making this proof. The purpose of these proofs is to ensure that the edition is truly limited and that no further prints can be made. But Sam, being Sam, didn't always do things the conventional way. He frequently turned the cancellation proof into its own unique work of art. Francis, along with Jasper Johns, Robert Motherwell and David Hockney, saw the creation of cancellation proofs as another opportunity for creative pursuits. Francis achieved this goal by employing a variety of techniques: executing the proof using only some of the colors from the original, printing only a portion of the etched areas, printing on smaller or larger sheets, and other methods of transforming the work.

Jonathan Novak Contemporary Art is pleased and honored to have the opportunity to showcase some of these works from the San Francis Foundation. We are exhibiting a series of 34 “special proofs” from the foundation’s archives; these works are being presented publicly for the first time. Many are cancellation proofs; others are trial proofs or "special editions." These proofs truly deserve a closer analysis and are a window into Francis’s innovative approach to every aspect of his artistic endeavors. Francis was deeply committed to producing printed works—so much so that he opened his own printmaking facility, The Litho Shop in Santa Monica in the early 1970’s that continued to be his primary print studio throughout his lifetime. No other abstract expressionist of the era created the volume of printed works that Francis did over the course of his career.

Examining these “special proofs” has been a revelation and offers an even deeper insight into Francis’s process of making printed works by highlighting the close alignment of the compositional elements in his printmaking and paintings over time. This collection demonstrates the power of Sam’s printmaking, not only in a wide array of colors, but also in more subtle greys and blacks. When his archetypal forms are rendered in softer tones or with fewer color combinations, the impact is not diminished. It is fascinating to observe the variation from monochromatic palettes to varying levels of color in these printed works. We hope you enjoy exploring this unique collection of works as we are delighted to share them with you.

✹ To read the full essay, including commentary from the Sam Francis Foundation's Debra Burchett Lere, please follow this link: https://novakart.com/exhibitions-2/https-novakart-com-exhibitions-2-sam-francis-special-proofs

Annie Burrows, Director -- October 1, 2021

Sam Francis

Dark Egg (SF-21) (L-22)

1963

17" x 20-1/8" (43.2 x 51.1 cm)

Lithograph

Cancellation proof (aside from the edition of 20)

Sam Francis

Chinese Planet (SF-23) (L-24)

1963

30" x 22-1/4" (76.2 x 56.5 cm)

Lithograph

Cancellation proof (aside from the edition of 20) Signed and inscribed in pencil, lower edge recto: Cancellation proof Sam Francis; annotated in pencil on verso: Chinese Planet Cancellation Proof PM/_____769 SF23

Sam Francis

Chinese Planet (SF-23B) (L-24)

1963

15" x 14" (38.1 x 35.6 cm)

Lithograph

Variant proof (aside from the edition of 20)

Sam Francis

Another Disappearance (SF-25) (L-26)

1963

22-1/4" x 30" (56.5 x 76.2 cm)

Lithograph

Cancellation proof (aside from the edition of 20)

Sam Francis working with master printer George Page in the Litho Shop, Broadway studio, Santa Monica, 1980. Photo Photo © Kurt Blum / Fotostiftung Schweiz, Winterthur.

Sam Francis

Tono (SF-37) (L-39)

1963

22-1/4" x 30" (56.5 x 76.2 cm)

Lithograph

Trial proof (aside from the edition of 20)

Sam Francis working with master printer George Page in the Litho Shop, Broadway studio, Santa Monica, 1980. Photo Photo © Kurt Blum / Fotostiftung Schweiz, Winterthur.

Sam Francis

Tono (SF-37) (L-39)

1963

22-1/4" x 30" (56.5 x 76.2 cm)

Lithograph

Cancellation proof (aside from the edition of 20)

Sam Francis

An 8 Set-2, from the Pasadena Box (SF-66) (L-58)

1963

20" x 15" (50.8 x 38.1 cm)

Lithograph

Artist Proof State (aside from the edition of 100)