Marin County, CAmarinmagazine.com
Many artists take creative inspiration from their surroundings. For the late abstract expressionist Sam Francis, even subtle variations in the light in different parts of the world affected his work. The Bay Area native, who was born in San Mateo in 1923, lived and worked around the globe, from Paris and Tokyo to New York City and Santa Monica, before finally returning home to the Bay Area to settle in Marin County several years before he died in 1994. His colorful acrylic canvases and watercolor works on paper garnered him international acclaim, and now fetch anywhere from $60,000 to well into the seven figures — and his larger-than-life personality made him a legendary figure in the art world. “He was the first artist in California who was internationally regarded, and his collections have been shown at museums all over Europe and Japan,” says Debra Burchett-Lere, director of the Sam Francis Foundation.