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Francis Bacon

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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.

Fairs, Events & Announcements

Gagosian at Galeries Lafayette Champs-Élysées, Paris

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Gagosian at Galeries Lafayette Champs-Élysées

Opening reception: Saturday, October 12, 6:30–8pm
October 12–20, 2019
Galeries Lafayette Champs-Élysées, Paris
galerieslafayettechampselysees.com

In celebration of FIAC in Paris, Gagosian is pleased to collaborate with Galeries Lafayette Champs-Élysées on a two-floor pop-up takeover featuring products related to Gagosian artists. On the first floor, the Coin Culture section will feature catalogues, posters, apparel, and audio productions. The second floor, the Library, will house an additional selection of limited-edition books, publications, and catalogues raisonnés.

Download the full press release in English (PDF) or French (PDF)

Gagosian at Galeries Lafayette Champs-Élysées, Paris

Francis Bacon: Couplings (London: Gagosian, 2019). Artwork © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved/DACS, London/Artimage 2019

In Conversation

Richard Calvocoressi and Martin Harrison on Francis Bacon

Friday, October 4, 2019, 5:30–7:30pm
Hatchards, Piccadilly, London
hatchards.co.uk

Join Gagosian at Hatchards, London’s oldest bookshop, to celebrate the publication of Francis Bacon: Couplings. Gagosian curator Richard Calvocoressi and leading Bacon scholar Martin Harrison, both contributors to the catalogue, will discuss the artist’s double-figure paintings, which were recently on view at Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London. To attend the free event, RSVP to baconrsvp@gagosian.com. Space is limited. 

Francis Bacon: Couplings (London: Gagosian, 2019). Artwork © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved/DACS, London/Artimage 2019

Installation view, Francis Bacon: Couplings, Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London, June 6–August 3, 2019. Artwork © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved, DACS 2019. Photo: Mike Bruce

Tour

Francis Bacon
Couplings

Wednesday, June 19, 2019, 6pm
Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London

Gagosian director and art historian Richard Calvocoressi will lead a tour of the exhibition Francis Bacon: Couplings at Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London. The exhibition of Bacon’s double-figure paintings explores a theme that preoccupied the artist throughout his career: the relationship between two people, both physical and psychological. The event has reached capacity. To join the wait list, contact londontours@gagosian.com

Installation view, Francis Bacon: Couplings, Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London, June 6–August 3, 2019. Artwork © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved, DACS 2019. Photo: Mike Bruce

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Museum Exhibitions

Works from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s collection in storage. Artwork, clockwise from top left: Jean Dubuffet, Martin Barré, and Wifredo Lam © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris; Willem de Kooning © 2019 The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; David Hammons © David Hammons; Paul Wonner © Estate of Paul Wonner and William Theophilius Brown, Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California; Cecilia Vicuña © Cecilia Vicuña; Maria Helena Vieira da Silva © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Photo: David M. Heald

On View

Artistic License
Six Takes on the Guggenheim Collection

Through January 12, 2020
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
www.guggenheim.org

This exhibition celebrates the institution’s extensive twentieth-century holdings through the eyes of six contemporary artists, all of whom have contributed to shaping the museum’s history with their own pivotal solo shows: Cai Guo-Qiang, Paul Chan, Jenny Holzer, Julie Mehretu, Richard Prince, and Carrie Mae Weems. Through collection highlights and rarely seen works from the turn of the century to 1980, this presentation includes nearly three hundred paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and installations selected by the six artists that engage with the cultural discourse of their time. Work by Francis Bacon, Willem de Kooning, and Lawrence Weiner is included.

Works from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s collection in storage. Artwork, clockwise from top left: Jean Dubuffet, Martin Barré, and Wifredo Lam © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris; Willem de Kooning © 2019 The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; David Hammons © David Hammons; Paul Wonner © Estate of Paul Wonner and William Theophilius Brown, Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California; Cecilia Vicuña © Cecilia Vicuña; Maria Helena Vieira da Silva © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Photo: David M. Heald

Francis Bacon, Oedipus and the Sphinx after Ingres, 1983, Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon © The Estate of Francis Bacon/All rights reserved/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2019. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd.

On View

Bacon en toutes lettres

Through January 20, 2020
Centre Pompidou, Paris
www.centrepompidou.fr

This exhibition presents paintings from Francis Bacon’s 1971 Grand Palais retrospective alongside his last works, made in 1992. The show aims to explore the unprecedented influence of literature on his work.

Francis Bacon, Oedipus and the Sphinx after Ingres, 1983, Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon © The Estate of Francis Bacon/All rights reserved/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2019. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd.

Ellen Gallagher, Morphia, 2008–12 (detail) © Ellen Gallagher

Closed

Francis Bacon and Ellen Gallagher

January 26–May 18, 2019
Hatton Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
hattongallery.org.uk

Francis Bacon’s piece Study for Portrait IV (1956–57), one of the most iconic works in the Hatton collection, is the catalyst for the exhibition Francis Bacon and Ellen Gallagher which sheds new light on each artists’ work. Specifically, the exhibition presents a dialogue between oil paintings by Bacon and Morphia, a series of works on paper by Ellen Gallagher.

Ellen Gallagher, Morphia, 2008–12 (detail) © Ellen Gallagher

Helen Frankenthaler, Star Gazing, 1989, collection of Helen Frankenthaler Foundation © 2019 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Closed

Peindre la nuit

October 13, 2018–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, Helen Frankenthaler, Roy Lichtenstein, Man Ray, Pablo Picasso, and Ed Ruscha is included. 

Helen Frankenthaler, Star Gazing, 1989, collection of Helen Frankenthaler Foundation © 2019 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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