Born in 1923 in San Mateo, California, Sam Francis was an American abstract painter who turned to painting whilst recovering from severe injuries sustained as a fighter pilot in the Second World War. Francis later undertook a degree in painting at the University of California, Berkley. In 1950, Francis went to Paris and enrolled at Fernand Leger's private academy. Over the next ten years he split his time between Paris, New York and Japan, absorbing influences from the New York school, Monet, Matisse, Bonnard, Still, French Tachistes and Zen calligraphers. His work, however, remains singular in its ability to fuse these influences with an approach to light and colour, structure and composition, which is uniquely his own. His work can be found in major international museum collections, including those of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and MOMA, New York; Kunstmuseum, Basel; and the Centre Pompidou, Paris.