Francisco Sainz Biography

Francisco Sainz




Francisco Sainz, was born in 1923 in Santander, Spain. Sainz, who was called “Paco”, fought as a teen-ager in the Spanish Civil War and was briefly imprisoned.

He arrived in New York just after World War II, having become interested in painting while living under an assumed name in Barcelona and working as an apprentice to a fashionable academic painter.

In New York, Mr. Sainz became friendly with many members of the New York School of painters, including Willem de Kooning, Lester Johnson and Alfred Leslie.


His style, developed during the 1950s, centered on figures, often in Spanish dress, isolated against colorful landscapes. These images, which had something in common with painters as dissimilar as Alex Katz and William Copley, were rendered in a blunt, somewhat stiff manner and were reminiscent both of 19th-century photography and folk painting. Sainz also painted portraits of saints and historical figures, including George Washington, General Franco and Grandma Moses. In the 1960s he had several solo shows with the Dorsky Gallery in Manhattan, including a show in 1969 of painted masks that he had started to make a few years earlier. His most recent exhibition was at the Morgan Rank Gallery in East Hampton in 1993. In East Hampton, New York where he made his home Sainz was known for organizing and acting in plays, playing the harmonica, reciting his poems, officiating at weddings and making an excellent paella, sometimes for as many as 200 people, in a bathtub on the beach.

Francisco Sainz died on Oct. 20, 1998 in East Hampton, New York.