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Francis Bacon

About

Francis Bacon was born in 1909 in Dublin and died in 1992 in Madrid. Bacon, one of the greatest painters of the twentieth century, remained devoted to figuration and portraiture throughout his career. In his art, modernity and tradition converge. His ectoplasmic figures and faces strain like savage forces of nature against shallow fields of intense color and the sketchy armatures that bind them back to the picture plane. In his gut-wrenching serialization of the human body and its sensations, he showed himself to be the unflinching witness of the hysterical reality of the body and the primal fear of those who inhabit it. Although Bacon's aggressive deformations suggest an intense level of existential alienation, he was actually intimately connected to most of his sitters, among them his lover George Dyer, Henrietta Moraes, who owned the Colony Club, Bacon's favorite drinking spot, and Isabel Rawsthorne, the renowned artist's muse. He often painted his subjects at a remove, from photographs, although the resulting portraits are far from being objective or idealized images. Lisa Sainsbury, a close friend and patron, sat for him every week for two years while he made a concerted effort to work directly from life. Of the eight portraits of her that Bacon completed, he destroyed several and Head of a Woman (Lisa Sainsbury) (1955-57) is one of only three remaining.

Museum Exhibitions

Helen Frankenthaler, Star Gazing, 1989, collection of Helen Frankenthaler Foundation© 2018 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Just Opened

Peindre la nuit

Through April 15, 2019
Centre Pompidou-Metz, France
www.centrepompidou-metz.fr

This exhibition explores the night in modern and contemporary painting, music, literature, photography, and video. With a focus on the perception of night rather than its iconography, the exhibition intends to be a nocturnal experience. Work by Francis Bacon and Helen Frankenthaler is included.

Helen Frankenthaler, Star Gazing, 1989, collection of Helen Frankenthaler Foundation

© 2018 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Michael Andrews, A Man Who Suddenly Fell Over, 1952, Tate © The Estate of Michael Andrews

On View

Bacon, Freud, and the School of London

Through January 13, 2019
Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest, Hungary
mng.hu

In the decades following World War II, Bacon, Freud, and their British contemporaries engaged with subjects that felt immediate and intensely personal. This exhibition retraces their artistic developments via works, including paintings and drawings, spanning seven decades. Despite the sheer diversity of approaches and techniques that embodied their practices, the members of this group were constantly renewing their individual appraisals of the artist’s personal position in the world, focusing on individuals, locations, and narratives close and dear to them. The exhibition was initially produced under the title Bacon, Freud, and the London Painters by ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark. Work by Michael Andrews, Francis Bacon, Glenn Brown, Alberto Giacometti, and Jenny Saville is included.

Michael Andrews, A Man Who Suddenly Fell Over, 1952, Tate © The Estate of Michael Andrews

Installation view, Bacon Giacometti, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel, April 29–September 2, 2018. Artwork by Francis Bacon © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved/2018, ProLitteris, Zurich. Artwork by Alberto Giacometti © Succession Alberto Giacometti/2018, ProLitteris, Zurich. Photo: Mark Niedermann

Closed

Bacon Giacometti

April 29–September 2, 2018
Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel
www.fondationbeyeler.ch

Alberto Giacometti and Francis Bacon were friends and rivals, and this exhibition explores their relationship. Although their respective artistic oeuvres differ greatly at first glance and appear autonomous, the exhibition reveals commonalities and amazing parallels between them.

Installation view, Bacon Giacometti, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel, April 29–September 2, 2018. Artwork by Francis Bacon © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved/2018, ProLitteris, Zurich. Artwork by Alberto Giacometti © Succession Alberto Giacometti/2018, ProLitteris, Zurich. Photo: Mark Niedermann

Jenny Saville, Reverse, 2003 © Jenny Saville

Closed

All Too Human
Bacon, Freud, and a Century of Painting Life

February 28–August 27, 2018
Tate Britain, London
www.tate.org.uk

In the decades following World War II, Bacon, Freud, and their British contemporaries engaged with subjects that felt immediate and intensely personal. This exhibition retraces their artistic developments via works, including paintings and drawings, spanning seven decades. Despite the sheer diversity of approaches and techniques that embodied their practices, the members of this group were constantly renewing their individual appraisals of the artist’s personal position in the world, focusing on individuals, locations, and narratives close and dear to them. The exhibition was initially produced under the title Bacon, Freud, and the London Painters by ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark. Work by Michael Andrews, Francis Bacon, and Jenny Saville is included.

Jenny Saville, Reverse, 2003 © Jenny Saville

See all Museum Exhibitions for Francis Bacon