The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation organises exhibitions on its premises; it also supports and takes part in the organisation of exhibitions dedicated to Francis Bacon, in conjunction with local and international institutions. By offering its expertise and agreeing to loans, our Foundation assists in staging these individual or collective exhibitions.
Francis Bacon: Man and Beast
Royal Academy of Arts, London
29 January – 17 April 2022
Our institution is participating in the ‘Francis Bacon: Man and Beast’ exhibition held at the Royal Academy in London until 17 April 2022 by contributing to its exhibition catalogue.Read more >
This powerful show focuses on Bacon’s unerring fascination with animals: how it both shaped his approach to the human body and distorted it; how, caught at the most extreme moments of existence, his figures are barely recognisable as either human or beast.
It also explores how Bacon was mesmerised by animal movement, observing animals in the wild during trips to South Africa; filling his studio with wildlife books, and constantly referring to Eadweard Muybridge’s 19th-century photographs of humans and animals in motion. Whether chimpanzees, bulls, dogs, or birds of prey, Bacon felt he could get closer to understanding the true nature of humankind by watching the uninhibited behaviour of animals.
Spanning Bacon’s 50-year career, highlights include some of Bacon’s earliest works and his last-ever painting, alongside a trio of bullfight paintings which will be exhibited together for the first time.
More information on the exhibition here
Francis Bacon’s Studios
Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation, Monaco
October 2021 - Summer 2023
Studios occupied a prominent place in Francis Bacon’s creative process, and they provide the common thread for this exhibition – the first ever to be devoted to this theme.Read more >
This exhibition invites us to discover the intimacy of the artist’s private spaces, and to witness the unconventional conditions in which Bacon lived and produced some of the most haunting images of his time. Bacon himself acknowledged: ‘I am very influenced by places – by the atmosphere of a room’.
The first part of the exhibition focuses on the British artist’s early career as a furniture and rug designer, a practice he started in 1929 in his studio at 17 Queensberry Mews West in London. It includes exceptional items of furniture and rugs rarely shown in public. While achieving success as an avant-garde designer, with a number of commissions from his circle of friends and his patrons, Bacon also began to paint. His first canvases, painted between 1929 and 1934 and displayed here, reveal the influence of Cubism and Surrealism.
The exhibition also features numerous objects, materials and working documents found in his Paris studio.
Bacon’s legendary, chaotic studio at 7 Reece Mews in London, where he worked for more than three decades and which played a major role in his work and life, is another highlight of the exhibition. This studio, which became the ‘depository’ for thousands of items, gives an enlightening insight into the artist’s creative process. A rare miniature version of the studio by the artist Charles Matton is also on show here.
The exhibition pathway is punctuated by rarely seen photographs of Bacon’s various studios taken by eminent photographers and the artist’s intimate friends.
In addition, the show includes paintings by the Australian artist Roy de Maistre who was Bacon’s main mentor and a close friend.
All the pieces presented come from the MB Art Collection – the private collection of the founder of the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation.
Bacon en toutes lettres
Centre Pompidou, Paris
11 September 2019 – 20 January 2020
The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation is taking part in the exhibition ’Francis Bacon: Books and Painting’ – to be presented from 11 September 2019 to 20 January 2020 at the Centre Pompidou in Paris - by contributing to the exhibition catalogue and the series of lectures, the ‘Bacon Book Club’.Read more >
The last major French exhibition dedicated to the ardently Francophile Bacon was held in 1996 at the Centre Pompidou. More than twenty years later, ‘Francis Bacon: Books and Painting’ presents paintings executed from 1971, the year of the legendary retrospective held at the Grand Palais, to his final works in 1992. Didier Ottinger is the curator of this innovative exploration of the influence of literature in Francis Bacon’s œuvre.
There are six rooms along the visitor route, placing literature at the heart of the exhibition. The event includes readings of excerpts of texts taken from Francis Bacon’s library. The exhibition at the Centre Pompidou focuses on works produced by Bacon in the last two decades of his career. It consists of sixty paintings (including twelve triptychs, in addition to a series of portraits and self-portraits) from major private and public collections. From 1971 to 1992 (the year of the artist’s death), his painting style was marked by its simplification and intensification. His colours acquired new depth, drawn from a unique chromatic register of yellow, pink and saturated orange.
1971 was a turning point for Bacon. His Grand Palais retrospective earned him international acclaim, while the tragic death of his partner, two days before the exhibition opening, gave way to a period marked by guilt and represented by a proliferation of the symbolic and mythological form of the Erinyes (the Furies of Greek mythology) in his work. The ‘Black’ Triptychs painted in memory of his deceased friend (In Memory of George Dyer, 1971, Triptych–August 1972 and Triptych, May–June 1973), all presented at the exhibition, commemorate this loss.
More information on the exhibition here
More information on the ‘Bacon Book Club’ here
Francis Bacon: Portraits in dialogue
Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation, Monaco
October 2018 - September 2021
To celebrate the fourth anniversary of its opening, on 28th October, our Foundation presented a new hang.Read more >
Visitors to the Foundation could discover around a hundred items dedicated to the British painter: paintings, graphic works, photographs, objects found in his various studios, letters and working documents.
This exhibition also included works by artists who knew Bacon or were influenced by his oeuvre. One room is entirely dedicated to his Parisian studio, where he worked for more than a decade.
Face to Face. Fernand Léger and his Friends
Musée Fernand Léger, Biot
14 April – 17 September 2018
The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation takes part in an exhibition at the musée national Fernand Léger.Read more >
Our Foundation supports the exhibition ’FACE TO FACE. FERNAND LÉGER AND HIS FRIENDS’ presented from 14 April to 17 September 2018 at the musée national Fernand Léger in Biot, on the French Riviera.
The musée national Fernand Léger is pursuing its exploration of Léger’s relationships, both personal and artistic, with other artists of the time. By placing works from the museum’s collection in dialogue with a selection of works created by major painters and sculptors of the European avant-garde, the exhibition reveals the mutual influences between Léger’s work and that of his contemporaries, in the context of the artistic hot bed of the early 20th century.
The meaning of the term “friend” has been enlarged to embrace the question of Fernand Léger’s legacy; his work, in fact, became a rich source of inspiration for major artists of the second half of the 20th century such as Roy Lichtenstein or Francis Bacon. Despite generational differences, these artists established a strong link, both intellectual and aesthetic, with their famous predecessor.
The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation takes part in this exhibition alongside the Musée National d’Art moderne in Paris, the Villa Arson in Nice, the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul de Vence and the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris.
On this occasion our institution is lending Bacon’s first known work entitled ‘Watercolour’ (1929) and a rare rug designed by the British artist and dating from his short career as an interior and furniture designer at the turn of the 1930s.
Fondation Beyeler, Basel
29 April – 2 September 2018
A Francis Bacon - Alberto Giacometti exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler in Basel.Read more >
The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation is taking part in the “Bacon – Giacometti” exhibition held at the Fondation Beyeler in Basel from 29 April to 2 September 2018. The exhibition is organised by the Fondation Beyeler in cooperation with the Fondation Giacometti, Paris.
This ambitious exhibition is the first to study in depth the parallel artistic careers of two of the 20th century’s most influential artists: Alberto Giacometti (1901–1966) and Francis Bacon (1909–1992).
The curators Catherine Grenier, director of the Fondation Giacometti in Paris, Michael Peppiatt, Bacon expert and a personal friend of the artist, and Ulf Küster, curator at the Fondation Beyeler, uncover remarkable parallels in this exhibition of circa 100 works, shedding light on these two artists who struck up a friendship through their mutual friend Isabel Rawsthorne.
On this occasion our institution is lending several photographs from its collection. Some of these were taken by renowned photographers including Mario Dondero or Edward Quinn, while others are more intimate pictures.
Francis Bacon/Bruce Nauman: Face To Face
Musée Fabre, Montpellier
1 July – 5 November 2017
The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation is taking part in the ‘Francis Bacon/Bruce Nauman: Face to Face’ exhibition to be held at the Musée Fabre in Montpellier from 1 July to 5 November 2017.Read more >
This exhibition brings together two artists who worked using quite distinct, sometimes even opposing, means, in order to allow a renewed reading, a revivified understanding of these two major 20th century figures. Francis Bacon and Bruce Nauman came from different generations and had little in common in terms of background. Yet both share an experimental conception of art and developed parallel themes, such as a fascination with the body and its distortions, transformations, and assaults, its animality. Notions of both physical and psychological constraint and hindrance, in real or fictional spaces, are another common field of exploration.
This exhibition, conceived by one of the Centre Pompidou curators, Cécile Debray, is organised around an important group of about ten works from the collection of the Musée national d’art moderne, lent within the framework of the Centre Pompidou’s 40th anniversary.
Other remarkable works generously lent by important museums and private collectors complete the selection to offer the public a show of about sixty works – paintings, sculptures, videos, photographs and graphic works; a voyage as spectacular and disconcerting as the two artists.
On this occasion our institution is lending two works by Francis Bacon: Figure with Monkey (1951) and Study for a Portrait (1979). It has also supplied several photographs for the exhibition catalogue and the museum website.
Francis Bacon, Monaco and French Culture
Grimaldi Forum, Monaco
2 July – 4 September 2016
The Grimaldi Forum Monaco has chosen as its theme for the Summer 2016 Exhibition (from 2 July to 4 September): 'Francis Bacon, Monaco and French culture'.Read more >
It is curated by Martin Harrison, author of the Francis Bacon Catalogue Raisonné and takes place with the support of the Estate of Francis Bacon in London and the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation based in Monaco.
The exhibition shows over sixty works by the artist making it one of the most ambitious projects held on the Côte d’Azur.
The Grimaldi Forum presents the work of Francis Bacon (born in Dublin in 1909, died in Madrid in 1992, lived in London, Paris and Monaco) from a unique angle: the influence of French culture and his Monegasque period. Major triptychs as well as famous and less well-known paintings are displayed thematically and show direct and indirect relationships to France and Monaco. One of the features of the exhibition is also to cross-reference major works of the masters who inspired Francis Bacon: Giacometti, Léger, Lurçat, Michaux, Soutine, Toulouse-Lautrec and others.
The works displayed come from public and private collections. They show the full range of eloquence and force of this monster sacré’s art. Among those prestigious institutions lending paintings are the Tate Britain and the Arts Council in London, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Centre Pompidou as well as numerous private collections.
Francis Bacon was immediately taken with French culture when he made his first visit to Paris towards the end of the twenties. In the spring of 1927, aged 17, he spent time in Chantilly with the Bocquentin family who took him under their wings and taught him French. In that same year, when visiting an exhibition at the Paul Rosenberg Gallery, he encountered Picasso’s works which inspired him to take up painting.
After selling his Painting 1946 to Erica Brausen, who was to become his art dealer two years later, Bacon left London for the Principality in July 1946, and lived there until the early fifties. It was in Monaco that he painted his first “pope”, mainly inspired by Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X, and began to concentrate his work on the human form. It was a decisive stage of his career, which later led him to being recognised as one of the most enigmatic of post-war figurative artists.
Bacon returned frequently throughout his life to Monaco and the South of France. In the fifties and sixties, he often came with his circle of friends from London’s Soho and from Wivenhoe. For the following twenty years he could often be seen with his Parisian friends and with John Edwards, both his muse and his companion.
In 1974 he took a studio-apartment in Paris which he kept until 1984. There he executed many portraits of his Parisian friends, notably Michel Leiris and Jacques Dupin.
The Tate dedicated two retrospectives to the artist during his lifetime in 1962 and in 1985, but he regarded the retrospective at the Grand Palais, in 1971 as most significant of his career. Only Picasso had the similar honour of a retrospective held during his lifetime at the Grand Palais, in 1966.
The exhibition is programmed to travel later to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao from 30 September 2016 to 8 January 2017, focusing this time on the artist’s relationship with Spain.
This is also the first major event to be organised under the auspices of the newly founded Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation, inaugurated in Monaco on 28th October 2014 (to coincide with the artist’s birthday) by HRH Prince Albert II. The non-profit institution is the only foundation in the world dedicated to Francis Bacon. Its mission is to promote a deeper understanding of the work, life and working methods of Francis Bacon throughout the world with a particular focus on the period during which the artist lived and worked in Monaco and France.
The Foundation supports original research on Francis Bacon, sponsors emerging artists, organises exhibitions and seminars on Bacon’s oeuvre in partnership with local and international institutions and finances projects associated with the artist.
Francis Bacon – Invisible Rooms
18 May – 18 September 2016
The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation together with The Estate of Francis Bacon are among the Francis Bacon Exhibition Supporters Group for the show 'Francis Bacon: Invisible Rooms' taking place at the Tate Liverpool from 18 May to 18 September, 2016.Read more >
Tate Liverpool presents the largest Francis Bacon exhibition ever staged in the north of England featuring more than 35 works including 30 paintings and a large group of works on paper and archival materials.
Curated by Kasia Redzisz, Senior Curator and Lauren Barnes, Assistant Curator, Tate Liverpool with Ina Conzen, Curator and Deputy Director, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, the exhibition surveys an underexplored yet significant element of Bacon’s work. An element introduced by the artist in the 1930s, Bacon used a barely visible cubic or elliptic cage around the figures depicted to create his dramatic compositions. These imaginary chambers emphasise the isolation of the represented figures and bring attention to their psychological condition. The act of placing the sitters in ‘invisible rooms’ guides the focus of attention towards the complex human emotions that are felt but can’t be seen.
Francis Bacon, France and Monaco
Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation, Monaco
November 2014 - September 2018
This first exhibition showed around 100 items of the Founder’s collection and focused on the close ties that Bacon enjoyed with the Principality of Monaco, as well as the South of France and Paris.Read more >
Paintings from 1929 to 1979 as well as several of his creations as a furniture and rug designer were presented here.
The exhibition pathway was punctuated by rarely seen photographs of the British artist taken by eminent photographers and the painter’s intimate friends.