The artist who has to create a monotype has to excel in artistic skill. He has to make an artwork before the making of the actual artwork itself; the monotype. Sam Francis exceeded in such artistic skill and talent. In the nineteen eighties Sam Francis decided to make collages of wood to create the prototype. Making these prototypes Francis had the chance to work with wood and colour at the same time. The choice to work with wood board was made because of the special effect of the colour on the wood grain. This artistic discipline enabled the artist to create an image of wood with oil paint and powdered colour pigments. The impacts of these images are just as strong and colourful as we see in his work made with acrylic on paper/canvas in the eighties, early nineties. After the prototype had been used to make the monotype Sam Francis fixated the colour pigment and kept the prototypes in his studio. 'I was never able to buy them when he was still alive', Nico Delaive says; 'He never showed them to anybody, although he had one framed and hanging in his studio'. Whenever Nico Delaive asked about the possibility to buy the works during one of his many visits to the United States, Sam Francis replied; 'I will keep them myself'.
This year the wonderful opportunity to buy the prototypes finally came. The Sam Francis Estate has decided to release the works to the Art Market before the Estate will complete their change into a foundation, which will be realised in the middle of 2004. Nico Delaive was the first person the works were offered to during his last visit to the Estate in July 2003. The remains of this marvellous collection of Prototypes have never been shown to the public. This exhibition at Gallery Delaive is the first time that all the works have been brought together for a show.
The Sam Francis Estate has donated one prototype of this unique collection to the
J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.