Throughout the Sixties, Sam Francis returned numerous times to Japan and exhibited in Tokyo and Oaka. He was commissioned to produce a 26-foot-long mural for the Segetsu School of Sofu Teshigahora and, becoming fascinated with the possibilities of wall painting, completed a number of other murals for places such as the Chase Manhattan Bank in New York (1959) and the National Gallery of Art in Berlin (1969-1971).
In 1961, Sam Francis returned to California: first Santa Barbara and then Santa Monica. As well as his mural work he continued to paint with the Japanese influence leading him to the development of a style known as Tachisme, in which free-flowing oil paint is allowed to drip down the canvas creating an accidental design. 'Meaningless Gesture' is a good example of this; the canvas is saturated with light, cloud-like forms with thin streams of paint raining down.
During the last few years of his life Sam Francis suffered from prostate cancer and was unable to paint with his right hand after a fall. In a final burst of creative energy, he used his left hand to complete an incredible series of approximately 150 small paintings. He died in 1994.
"The Japanese artist, like the Abstract Expressionist, sees the working process as eliciting a new consciousness that becomes the work, and Sam Francis found himself closely attuned to Japanese aesthetics."