Artist’s Foundation donates prints to MAM

The California-based Sam Francis Foundation recently donated over 500 prints to the Milwaukee Art Museum.  Sam Francis was an American painter and printmaker who experimented with both surrealism and abstract expressionism.
“We are honored to accept this gift from the Foundation, representing nearly all of Sam Francis’ lithographs, etchings, and screen prints dating from the early 1960s to the 1990s,” said Mary Weaver Chapin, associate curator of prints and drawings for the Milwaukee Art Museum. “This aggregate collection representing the whole of his career is invaluable.”
Francis pursued a career in art after an accident and illness that required years of hospitalization. He started painting as a distraction from every day struggles.
The gift also includes 24 works by other internationally known artists that were published by his printing press.
“The Museum is honored to be a repository for the work of Sam Francis,” said Dan Keegan, director of the Milwaukee Art Museum. “This generous gift has expanded our Herzfeld Foundation Print, Drawing, and Photography Study Center and the opportunities it presents the Museum to showcase works of art on paper.”
According to Debra Burchett-Lere, the director of the Sam Francis Foundation, the Milwaukee Art Musuems commitment to prints, its staff and its collection of modern art were determining factors in selecting MAM as a gift recipient.
 “This collection offers a unique opportunity to study Francis’s prints in one location, the only public museum facility currently with this distinction in the world,” said Burchett-Lere. “The mission of the foundation is to research, document, protect, and perpetuate the creative legacy of the artist Sam Francis so working with the Milwaukee Art Museum in this donation of art fulfills our goal to promote public awareness and knowledge about the art of Sam Francis.”
An exhibition of the prints is scheduled for 2012.

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