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Martin Lawrence Galleries Celebrates Unique Works of Sam Francis

This carefully curated exhibition, which opened on April 11, includes paintings, watercolor, and acrylic on paper works completed by American abstract expressionist Sam Francis.

The imagery and works included in the Sam Francis exhibition exude a spontaneity, openness, and bold presence that were as much a part of the artist as of his work. Francis allowed chance and accident to shape his images. His ability to understand and convey the meaning of these unconscious elements enables viewers to understand the artist, as well as his art.


“In a city saturated with pop art, this is a chance for modern-art collector to consider works for their home by an actual abstract-expressionist,” says Gallery Director R.L. Sparks, who notes that “most of us, of course, will never acquire a Jackson Pollock or Willem de Kooning.”


He adds, “But Francis is his own man. His career traversed more styles than Pollock attempted and with a color palette brighter than any of the other expressionists.” The artist’s desire to explore his art led him to Paris in the early ’50s, and it was here that his professional career as an artist indeed began. From early in his career, Francis realized commercial and critical success with his large, paint-splattered, colorful images.

Untitled, 1994 (SFP94-39, SFF.1714) acrylic on canvas 16 x 24 inches

His paintings of the 1950s evolved through a series of stages, beginning with monochromatic abstractions, followed by more massive richly colored murals and “open” paintings that feature large areas of whiteness. After his 1953 painting “Big Red” was included in the 1956 exhibition “Twelve Artists” at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Francis began a rapid rise to international prominence.


Included in the exhibition are archetypal works and images — mandalas, trellises, and spirals which dominated his work during a period in the ’70s when he immersed himself in the work of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung. Francis’ works of the early 1970s have been referred to as Fresh Air pictures. Created by adding pools, drips, and splatters of color to wet bands of paint applied with a roller, these works re-asserted the artist’s interest in color.

Untitled (Blue Cross) 1984 acrylic on paper 78 x 42 inches

Bright Ring Drawing, 1964 watercolor and acrylic on paper, signed ‘Sam Francis’ March 1964 Tokyo’ verso 41 x 27 inches

During the course of his career, Sam Francis was commissioned to paint many important murals, including those in at the Louvre Museum in Paris, the San Francisco Museum of Modern and the Kunsthalle in Basel, Switzerland.


“There are several huge works on display, big bold works, two of which are taller than I am, and I’m 6’2,” says Sparks. “But my favorite paintings personally are the more organic works of the early 1960’s where the artist is creating works more akin to what you’d see adrift in a petri  dish, under a microscope, than what the hands of man usually devise.” Francis died in 1994, and his originals are currently listed online for up to $30,000.

Martin Lawrence Galleries is located in New York, New York.

For more on Sam Francis, visit

Martin Lawrence Galleries recently announced that the latest works from pop-illusionist Philippe Bertho — which showcase his recent decision to explore the dreamlike deliriums and the vibrant pleasure of his own personal narrative, context and texture — will be exhibited at its SoHo location.

Philippe Bertho, Gruetesque, acrylic on canvas,     47 1/2 x 47 1/2 inches

Philippe Bertho, Le Grand Saut, acrylic on canvas, 23 1/2 x 23 1/2 inches

Philippe Bertho, Love Pop 3, hand-signed serigraph on linen, 24 x 24 inches

Philippe Bertho, Le Plus Beau Cosmonaute, acrylic on canvas, 28 3/4 x 23 1/2 inches

MLG began presenting the unique works of Philippe Bertho exclusively at its nine galleries across the country a decade ago, noting that never before had it seen a painter of such magnificent vision and unique perspective. Since then, Bertho’s work is exclusively offered at its fine art galleries from New York to Orleans to Maui to La Jolla. MLG notes that Bertho’s personal and visual works illustrate, enlighten and — with gloriously subtle nuance — confound the eye.
“I think my paintings are paintings of ideas. There are many kinds of painters; I am a painter of ideas who paints with delicacy and restraint,” says Bertho. Bertho, born in the Brittany of France, is a classically trained artist who began studying his craft in the early 1990s in Reims. He spent considerable time mastering trompe l’oeil (“to fool the eye”) painting, a technique which literally creates the illusion of a third dimension on a flat surface.
“For a long time, I naively believed that painting was a matter of technique. Then I read about Picasso, son of a drawing teacher, who spent his life learning to draw as a child; then and there, my perspective on art was transformed forever. To represent a face in profile and from the front at the same time; it is simply great poetry,” says Bertho.
Bertho’s newest works, now offered for acquisition at MLG’s SoHo, New York and San Francisco locations, reflect his desire and recent decision to return to his vision of life as new ideas. New and original works on canvas and hand-signed prints are available to view and acquire.

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