Sullivan Goss
Celebrating 32 Years
of 19th, 20th and 21stCentury American Art
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Jon Francis

(b. 1940)

Contemporary California Tonalist

by Frank Goss

Fascinated by the legacy of the American Tonalist movement (1880-1915), Jon Francis continues to explore in the tradition of these earlier Californians who created a distinct regional style.

Table Of Contents

I. Biography

Francis was born and raised in Laguna Beach. His youth spanned the years when Laguna Beach was in transition from one of the great West Coast art colonies to the visitor destination that it is today. Even in his early years he was an active painter winning awards at the Orange County Fair. His formal art training took place at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. There he studied among several of California's finest art educators including Lorser Feitelson, Harry Carmean and Bernice Politka.

Today, the artist and his beautiful wife Sandra live and work in Stinson Beach and Santa Barbara, California.

II. SGTV Video

"American Icons by Jon Francis"
Written by Susan Bush
Narrated by Frank Goss
Produced by Jeremy Tessmer

Jon Francis returned to Sullivan Goss for his third solo-exhibition, American Icons. The artist's long career in film and television helps explain his eye for the cinematic - even iconic in images of Southern California, San Francisco, and New York.

To watch this video click on the image to the left.

III. An Analysis of the Artist's Work

The paintings of Jon Francis reflect an interest in capturing the places and things of an earlier and simpler time. Francis builds upon the artistic sensibilities of artists at the beginning of the previous century like Arthur Mathews and George Inness by imbuing his subjects with suggestions of quiet grandeur. At the same time, Jon utilizes a vocabulary of visual elements which look forward to more modernist impulses.

Every day I am inspired by the beauty of West Marin. My first impression is always the light. The morning and evening light define the landscape... Whatever my subject, I try to make light, or the light source, the dominant element. I also work with the "negative space," the area that surrounds and defines the object, to creat the composition. I prefer to use a very narrow palette of analogous colors that allows the composition to be held together by the shapes of elements rather than color differences. - Jon Francis

IV. Awards

As a director of television commercials, Francis won numerous citations including the Gold, Silver and Bronze Lions at the Cannes Film Festival. He has also received several Clio awards during his career.

V. Exhibitions (selected list):

Solo Exhibitions

  • 2014 "Jon Francis: Let Icons Be Icons", Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2011 "Jon Francis: Paintings from the Drive Home", Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2009 "Jon Francis: American Icons", Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2005 "Fall Four", Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2002 "Places and Things", Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2001 Bolinas Museum, Bolinas, CA
  • Group Exhibitions

  • 2006 "The Missions and Early California Buildings", Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2005 "Scenes of American Labor", Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2004 "Soft Light Serenade", Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2004-1999 Bolinas Museum, Marin County, CA
  • 2003-1998 Claudia Chapline Gallery, Stinson Beach, CA
  • 2003 Laguna PAPA Juried Membership Exhibit, Laguna, CA
  • 2003-2002 California Art Club, Pasadena
  • 2004-2001 M.A.L.T. (Marin Agricultural Land Trust), Marin County, CA
  • 2001 Marinscape, Marin County, CA

  • Red Truck
    16" x 20"
    Oil on linen
    Private Collection

    In this painting, the artist's preference for a golden brown tonalism creates a transcendent atmosphere in which this old pick up truck is elevated to a focus for poetic reverie.

    Have Skill, Will Travel
    24" x 20"
    Oil on canvas

    This is one of the first purely figurative paintings by the artist. It was created for the Scenes of American Labor exhibit in 2005. The work also marks a new direction in the artist's palette.

    Storm Over Anacapa
    20" x 24"
    Oil on canvas
    Private Collection

    Of particular interest in this work is the artist's expert handling of the tonalist palette to convey a dramatic storm over Anacapa Island off of Santa Barbara's coast.

    Brooklyn Bridge
    11" x 14"
    Oil on board
    Private Collection
    Exhibited as part of Soft Light Serenade exhibition from 2004

    Letís Dance
    20" x 30"
    Oil on canvas

    Sullivan Goss Ė An American Gallery is pleased to announce that Letís Dance by Jon Francis has been selected by Ambassador James M. Derham of Guatemala to hang in the American Embassy in Guatemala City as part of the ART In Embassies Program. The piece will be exhibited at the American Embassy in Guatemala for 3 years. Following its exhibition there, the painting will be returned and offered for sale.

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    Deer at Dusk
    Hold the Onions
    Leadbetter Beach
    Mission Evening
    On the Hill
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