Modernism + Film

Modernism + Film



The Painter Sam Francis

In conjunction with the exhibition Sam Francis: Rapid Fluid Indivisible Vision, which opens September 18, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art screens the documentary The Painter Sam Francis (trailer, 85 minutes) October 8 during the museum’s Modernism + Film program.

Artist Jeffrey Perkins began filming Sam Francis, a seminal figure in American Abstract Expressionism, in 1968. With film and audio recordings that continued periodically through the early 1990s, Perkins documented Francis at work and in intimate conversations. Perkins shelved the footage until Francis’s death in 1994. After screenig his work at a memorial for Francis, Perkins was encouraged to turn the raw material into a biopic of Francis.

Forty years in the making, The Painter Sam Francis is Perkins’s lyrical and intimate portrait of his friend and mentor. The film retraces Francis’s life and career from his childhood in California to his artistic maturation in post-war Paris, his time in Japan, and his preeminence in the United States. Hinging on an interview that Perkins conducted with Francis in 1973, as well as extended scenes of the artist at work in his studio, the film provides deep insight into a man for whom creativity was a powerful, life-sustaining force.


Prior to the film screening, Bechtler curator Jennifer Edwards will provide remarks about Sam Francis and the exhibition Sam Francis: Rapid Fluid Indivisible Vision. 


An event reception with a cash-only bar and free light bites begins at 6 p.m. in the Bechtler lobby followed by the presentation and film screening at 7 p.m. in the auditorium.


Tickets are $10 for the public, $8 for museum members and $5 for students. Buy tickets (Tickets may also be purchased by phone 704.353.9200 or at the admissions desk.) Student tickets may be purchased at the door or by phone. Must present student ID to claim.

Image: Screenshot from “The Painter Sam Francis”

return to events


  • Monday10am - 5pm
  • TuesdayClosed
  • Wednesday10am - 5pm
  • Thursday10am - 5pm
  • Friday10am - 5pm
  • Saturday10am - 5pm
  • Sunday12pm - 5pm


Get directions and parking information.

find out more

Stay Connected

Stay up to date with the latest Bechtler happenings by subscribing to our emails. 

Click here to subscribe

Are We Friends?

Follow the Bechtler.

ex © 2023 Bechtler Museum of Modern Art All images and content copyright. All rights reserved. Credits: Design: MODE. Artwork Photography: JoAnn Sieburg-Baker, David Ramsey General Photography: Eric Bahrs, Mitchell Kearney, Gary O'Brien, Nancy Pierce, Maxim Vakhovskiy Copywriting: Pam Davis Charlotte Skyline Photo: courtesy of Visit Charlotte School of Paris: John Boyer (Copy), MODE (Design)
© 2023 Bechtler Museum of Modern Art | 420 South Tryon Street | Charlotte, North Carolina 28202 | 704.353.9200