Gagosian is pleased to present the exhibition Crossing the Channel: Friendships and Connections in London and Paris 1946–1965, which examines the vibrant exchange of ideas and influences between Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, and Alberto Giacometti in Paris and London during the postwar years.
This exhibition spans the period from 1946—the year that the international borders reopened—to 1965, when Tate Gallery presented Giacometti’s retrospective. During this time, the web of friendships and alliances between artists, patrons and collectors from London and Paris proved to be enormously influential. It was Peter Watson—the important British collector and patron of the arts as well as a founder of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London—who connected Bacon, Freud, and Giacometti as well as collecting their works, providing stipends and organizing exhibitions, including retrospectives for Giacometti and Bacon with the Arts Council of Great Britain in 1955. In Portrait of Peter Watson (1954), Giacometti paid homage to this dynamic and instrumental patron.
The eldest of the three artists, Giacometti was, to some extent, the trio’s imaginative lynchpin. With Watson’s assistance, Freud traveled to Paris in the mid-’40s, where he met Giacometti and sat for two portraits. Giacometti first visited London in 1955, where he witnessed the still-devastating effects of the War. Although he did not meet Bacon until the early ’60s, his influence on the younger artist is evident in works such as Miss Muriel Belcher (1959), whose sculpted facial features and dark, abstracted background recall devices that Giacometti used in paintings and sculptures of Annette and Diego.
Bacon and Freud became close friends around 1943. Each chose to paint only their most intimate friends, although Bacon worked exclusively from photographs while Freud painted from live models. Freud’s portrait of his future wife Lady Caroline Blackwood, Girl in Bed (1952) was one of the many paintings that traveled with him between Paris and London. In John Deakin (1963–64), Freud portrayed the renowned photographer whose images of Muriel Belcher, Isabel Rawsthorne, George Dyer and others became the basis for many of Bacon’s paintings. Bacon also painted a series of portraits of Freud from Deakin’s photographs as counterparts to Freud’s portraits of Bacon.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with an essay by Pilar Ordovás.
Frank Auerbach: Artist Friends
In this candid interview with Richard Calvocoressi, the painter Frank Auerbach reminisces on his friendships with Michael Andrews, Francis Bacon, and Lucian Freud. The two spoke during the planning of the exhibition Friends and Relations, a show that examines the interconnected lives and art practices of this group of London painters.
Gagosian Quarterly Winter 2022
The Winter 2022 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Anna Weyant’s Two Eileens (2022) on its cover.
Bruce Bernard: Portraits Of Friends
Virginia Verran details the photographer’s friendships with the London painters.
Francis Bacon: The First Pope
Richard Calvocoressi tells the story of Francis Bacon’s first image of the pope, ‘Landscape with Pope/Dictator’, c. 1946.
Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2022
The Summer 2022 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, with two different covers—featuring Takashi Murakami’s 108 Bonnō MURAKAMI.FLOWERS (2022) and Andreas Gursky’s V & R II (2022).
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 biography of Francis Bacon.
Friends and Relations
Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon, Frank Auerbach, Michael Andrews
November 17, 2022–January 28, 2023
Grosvenor Hill, London
Bustes de Femmes
Paris 10th Anniversary Exhibition
October 10–December 18, 2020
rue de Ponthieu, Paris