Sam Francis Catalogue Raisonné Goes Online

The 2011 Sam Francis catalogue raisonné.


Ah, the catalogue raisonné. It is one of life’s true pleasures: all of an artist’s work collected in one place, ready to be savored. Here at ARTnews headquarters, I keep a copy of Barnett Newman’s next to my desk and jealously guard it. My hope, one day, is to be buried with it. (Only joking: I want to be cremated. Please don’t burn the book!) In recent years, such volumes—once thick, luxuriously printed tomes—have been making their way online, with subscription services through Artifex Press (for Agnes Martin, Lucas Samaras, and more) and some one-off efforts, free to the public, for the likes of Cézanne, Morris Louis, and Peter Cain.

Today brings another entry into the online field, with the Sam Francis Foundation declaring that the first volume of its catalogue for the late painter is now available digitally. It covers 201 works that Francis made between 1945 and 1949, and for a limited time, it is open to the public, at no cost.

The complete project, titled Sam Francis: Online Catalogue Raisonné Project–The Compilation of Unique Works on Paper and Expanded Version of Canvas and Panel Paintings, builds on a print version published by the University of California Press in 2011, with entries being added as scholarship as progresses. Debra Burchett-Lere is serving as editor, Beth Ann Whittaker is the project manager, and Leila Elliott and Stephanie Velazquez are contributors. The software behind the project is called panOpticon.

But enough information! It is time, now, for pictures: Here is the catalogue raisonné.

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