Sam Francis was born on June 25, 1923 in San Mateo, California. Francis briefly served in World War II until he was wounded. During his long hospital stay, Francis was exposed to art through visits from artist David Park. In 1945, he took up painting and began to study it at Berkeley following the war, among other subjects. Following his graduation, Francis traveled to Paris and other cities around the world to paint and develop his career. In 1953, Francis was among 12 artists picked for a group show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which helped Francis rise to fame overnight. Francis spent much of the 60s and 70s completing murals, public commissions, and high-profile series. In the 1980s, Francis began to focus on making prints, specializing in lithographs, etchings, and monotypes.