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.
Visions of the Self: Rembrandt and Now
In partnership with English Heritage
April 12–May 18, 2019
Grosvenor Hill, London
Extended through November 19, 2016
From Modigliani to Currin
September 20–November 19, 2016
980 Madison Avenue, New York
Crossing the Channel
Friendships and Connections in Paris and London 1946–1965
June 2–July 31, 2010
Davies Street, London
Isabel and Other Intimate Strangers
Portraits by Alberto Giacometti and Francis Bacon
November 4–December 13, 2008
980 Madison Avenue, New York
Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2021
The Spring 2021 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Gerhard Richter’s Helen (1963) on its cover.
The Art of Biography: Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan
Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan, coauthors of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize–winning biography of Willem de Kooning, speak with Michael Cary about the research and revelations that went into their forthcoming biography of Francis Bacon.
Francis Bacon: Couplings
Richard Calvocoressi provides an in-depth view of the exhibition Francis Bacon: Couplings at Gagosian, London, examining a theme that preoccupied the artist throughout his career: the relationship between two people, both physical and psychological.
Visions of the Self: Jenny Saville on Rembrandt
Jenny Saville reveals the process behind her new self-portrait, painted in response to Rembrandt’s masterpiece Self-Portrait with Two Circles.
Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan
with Michael Cary
Tuesday, April 6, 2021, 6pm EDT
Authors Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan will discuss their new book, Francis Bacon: Revelations, with Gagosian director Michael Cary in a conversation presented by 192 Books and Paula Cooper Gallery. A decade in the making, the book offers the first comprehensive look at the life and art of Francis Bacon, who produced indelible images of humankind and played an outsized role in both twentieth-century art and life. Bacon was a witty free spirit and unabashed homosexual at a time when many others remained closeted, and his exploits were as unforgettable as his paintings. Revelations offers a more complete, nuanced, and international portrait than ever before of this singularly private, darkly funny, eruptive man and his equally extraordinary art. To watch the live event, visit paulacoopergallery-studio.com.
Francis Bacon: Revelations (New York: Knopf Publishing Group, 2021)
Visions of the Self
Rembrandt and Now
Tuesday, March 17, 2020, 6:30–8:30pm
Kenwood House, London
In the interest of public health, this event has been postponed until further notice.
Gagosian is pleased to host a drinks reception to celebrate the release of Visions of the Self: Rembrandt and Now, published on the occasion of the recent eponymous exhibition at Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London. Organized in partnership with English Heritage, the exhibition places Rembrandt’s masterpiece Self-Portrait with Two Circles (c. 1665) in dialogue with self-portraits by Francis Bacon, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Lucian Freud, and Pablo Picasso, as well as leading contemporary artists such as Georg Baselitz, Glenn Brown, Urs Fischer, Damien Hirst, Howard Hodgkin, Giuseppe Penone, Richard Prince, Jenny Saville, Cindy Sherman, and Rudolf Stingel, among others. The catalogue includes an introduction by Wendy Monkhouse, senior curator at English Heritage, and a text by art historian David Freedberg. To attend the free event, RSVP to email@example.com. Space is limited.
Visions of the Self: Rembrandt and Now (London: Gagosian, 2020)
Gagosian at Galeries Lafayette Champs-Élysées
Opening reception: Saturday, October 12, 6:30–8pm
October 12–20, 2019
Galeries Lafayette Champs-Élysées, Paris
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.
Gagosian at Galeries Lafayette Champs-Élysées, Paris, 2019
February 23–May 25, 2020
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
This exhibition presents more than forty paintings from Francis Bacon’s 1971 Grand Palais retrospective alongside his last works, made in 1992. The show, which traveled from the Centre Pompidou in Paris, aims to explore the unprecedented influence of literature on his work. Significant new loans have been added to the Houston presentation.
Francis Bacon, Study for Portrait, 1981 © The Estate of Francis Bacon/All rights reserved/ADAGP, Paris/DACS, London 2020/ARS, New York
Was wir Menschen anbeten
October 19, 2019–March 1, 2020
Kunsthalle Bremen, Germany
This exhibition, whose title translates to Icons: Worship and Adoration, presents a single masterpiece in each of the museum’s sixty galleries complemented by everyday icons—from consumer brands to icons of popular culture, offering an interpretation of the traditional notion of the icon in art juxtaposed with the proliferation of icons in everyday life. The presentation examines various aspects of spirituality, devotion, and adoration. Work by Francis Bacon, Andreas Gursky, Damien Hirst, Yves Klein, Jeff Koons, Bruce Nauman, and Andy Warhol is included.
Damien Hirst, Liberation, 2019, installation view, Kunsthalle Bremen, Germany © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2020
Bacon en toutes lettres
September 11, 2019–January 20, 2020
Centre Pompidou, Paris
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.
Six Takes on the Guggenheim Collection
May 24, 2019–January 12, 2020
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
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 © 2020 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris; Willem de Kooning © 2020 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 © 2020 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Photo: David M. Heald