Sam Francis has an incredible origin story as an artist. He was studying to become a fighter pilot, when an emergency landing left him with an injury that ultimately lead to an extended hospital stay where only his hands and arms were free to move. It was in the hospital that he started to paint and after he had healed, he became known for his color-saturated abstract expressionism, including many large murals, like Basel Mural l, 1956-58, which is part of the Norton Simon’s collection.

Sam Francis, Basel Mural l, 1956-58

But a new exhibition at the Norton Simon Museum shows a much different side of the Sam Francis. On display in Drawing, Dreaming and Desire are a collection of his rarely seen erotic drawings. Curator Gloria Williams Sander told us how another illness brought out this other side of Sam Francis.

photos courtesy Susie Goodman

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