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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.

Fairs, Events & Announcements

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

Rembrandt van Rijn, Self-Portrait with Two Circles, c. 1665, English Heritage, The Iveagh Bequest (Kenwood, London). Photo: Historic England Photo Library

Tour

Visions of the Self: Rembrandt and Now
In partnership with English Heritage

Thursday, April 25, 2019, 6pm
Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London

Gagosian director and art historian Richard Calvocoressi will lead a tour of the exhibition Visions of the Self: Rembrandt and Now at Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London. Calvocoressi will take a look at postwar and contemporary masters of self-representation, anchoring the conversation to an important Rembrandt masterpiece included in the exhibition, Self-Portrait with Two Circles (c. 1665). The event has reached capacity. To join the wait list, contact londontours@gagosian.com.

Rembrandt van Rijn, Self-Portrait with Two Circles, c. 1665, English Heritage, The Iveagh Bequest (Kenwood, London). Photo: Historic England Photo Library

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

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

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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

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

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Bacon, Freud, and the School of London Painters

October 9, 2018–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

See all Museum Exhibitions for Francis Bacon

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