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Abstract self portrait may climb to $200,000

Artwork, including a unique self portrait, by abstract impressionist artist Sam Francis, is expected to vie for top lot during Michaan's Dec. 9 Fine Art, Furniture, Decorative Arts and Jewelry Auction.

ALAMEDA, Calif. – Two particularly desirable original paintings by Sam Francis (1923-1994), including a unique self portrait, headline Michaan’s Fine Art, Furniture, Decorative Arts and Jewelry Auction, slated for Friday, Dec. 9. The sale begins at 10 a.m. Pacific (1 p.m. Eastern) at the firm’s gallery at 2751 Todd St., Alameda, California. is providing internet live bidding.

Story Behind Francis' Self Portrait

Francis, who spent his formative years in Berkeley but lived and worked all over the world, is best

Sam Francis self portrait

"Point Reyes Self Portrait," Sam Francis, may see $150,000 to $200,000. (All photos courtesy Michaan's)

known for a style that incorporates vivid, corpuscular drips of pigment applied with gestural freedom and large “empty-center” canvases that reflect the influence of Japanese art. Untitled (SF70-723), estimated at $60,000 to $80,000, is a fine example of his signature style. Point Reyes Self Portrait, created in 1990, is an explosion of color in Francis’ free-gesture style and is estimated at $150,000 to $200,000. The consignor acquired the paintings directly from Sam Francis, and both works have been approved for inclusion in the next printing of the artist’s catalogue raisonné.

The Dec. 9 sale also presents a scarce opportunity for connoisseurs of museum-quality couture and textiles. There are three pieces by legendary couturier and fabric designer Mariano Fortuny, including a richly embroidered velvet cape ($1,000-$1,500); and two versions of the Delphos gown (each $1,500-$2,000). The shimmering trademark pleats of these classically inspired gowns are softly weighted by tiny beads of hand-blown Venetian glass. The result is a body-skimming silhouette that broke new ground when it was introduced in the early 20th century.

Additional Anticipated Highlights

A large array of early 20th-century Tiffany Studios glass will cross the auction block. Vases include many iridescent Favrile pieces, with estimates ranging from $400 to $3,500. Desirable glass and bronze Tiffany desk sets include examples in the Zodiac motif ($3,000-$5,000) and Pine Needle pattern ($2,000-$3,000). Dirk Van Erp designs include an oblong copper bowl ($2,000-$3,000); hammered honeycomb copper vase ($1,500-$2,000); and a large Arts & Crafts tile depicting cypress trees, by Chauncey R. Thomas for California Faience Pottery in a Dirk Van Erp copper frame ($2,000-$3,000). An imposing tiger oak ceremonial chair from the San Francisco Masonic Lodge ($3,000-$5,000) was crafted at the Mathews Furniture Shop, whose works are found in the Oakland Museum of California but rarely appear at auction.

For more information, call 510-740-0220 or visit