A new journal on Francis Bacon supported by the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation

A new journal on Francis Bacon supported by the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation

The Foundation is pleased to announce the release of Bacon Review, the first journal dedicated to Francis Bacon, launched and published by The Estate of Francis Bacon with the financial support of our institution.

The first issue of Bacon Review concentrates on neglected aspects of Francis Bacon’s life and work, presenting his achievements in startlingly new ways.

The journal is a collaborative effort, featuring contributions from experts in art history. Yvonne Scott’s feature offers fresh perspectives on Bacon’s admiration for ancient Egyptian art, while Gill Hedley’s piece tells the story of Bacon’s first important critic, Robert Melville. Sophie Pretorius’s contribution explains the significance of Bacon’s friendship with the artist Richard Hamilton.

Martin Harrison, the journal’s main editor, also writes a piece on the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation’s activities and collection, focusing on a Jean Shepeard sketch of Francis Bacon which is part of the MB Art Collection (recently acquired from the sale of the Doreen Kern Collection, which Kern, Jean Shepeard’s niece, had inherited from her aunt).

In addition to these insightful features, Bacon Review also includes many previously unseen photographs from the artist’s family archive. The publication promises several surprises that will delight fans of Bacon’s work and provide a new lens through which to appreciate his art.

Details to order the journal here

The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation takes part in an exhibition at the Marlborough Gallery in London

The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation takes part in an exhibition at the Marlborough Gallery in London

The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation is participating in the ‘Face to Face: A Celebration of Portraiture’ exhibition held at the Marlborough Gallery in London until 14 July 2023 by lending two works from the MB Art Collection: a charcoal drawing of Francis Bacon by Maggi Hambling and a photograph of Bacon taken by Richard Avedon in Paris in 1979.

This exhibition coincides with the re-opening of the National Portrait Gallery. Unfolding in thematic sections across two floors, it will explore how artists have pushed the limits of this genre from the early 20th century to the present day.

Portraits are one of the richest veins of Marlborough’s history as a result of the gallery’s eight-decade long commitment to the figurative tradition, championed by its founders through seminal exhibitions of works by Frank Auerbach, Francis Bacon, Lynn Chadwick, Lucian Freud, Maggi Hambling, Alex Katz, Henry Moore and Celia Paul, among many others. These vanguards of modern figuration will be shown on the ground floor alongside iconic photographic portraits by Berenice Abbott, Richard Avedon, Bill Brandt and Brassaï, paying tribute to the critical role Marlborough played at the forefront of exhibiting photography during the 1970s and 80s.

The display on the second floor will explore contemporary perspectives on portraiture, showcasing works by Roxana Halls, Hugo Hamper-Potts, Natalia Hazell, Alexander James, Lorena Levi, Darren LyndeMann, Christian Quin Newell, Liorah Tchiprout, Georg Wilson, Vicky Wright, Deanio X and Ki Yoong. Exploring themes of identity, intimacy, and status, these works synthesise different elements of the portraiture tradition, not just through figuration but with conceptual, indexical, or object-based modes of representation.

The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation takes part in an exhibition at the Marlborough Gallery in London
© Marlborough London
Francis Bacon c1933 Francis Julian Gutmann

New documentary on Bacon & Ireland
Francis Bacon: The Outsider

The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation took part in a film produced by Mount Venus Productions, broadcast in December on the Irish channel RTE 1, about Francis Bacon’s close links with Ireland and its influence on his early career as an artist.

The Foundation participated in the film Francis Bacon: The Outsider, by welcoming the film team within its premises. The goal of their visit to Monaco was to discover the first oil on canvas by Francis Bacon, ‘Painting’, 1930, currently on display at the Foundation in Monaco and part of the MB Art Collection. One of the highlights of the documentary is the reveal of the place in Ireland where Bacon started to paint that first oil.

Presented and narrated by U2’s Adam Clayton, a huge admirer of Francis Bacon, this insightful documentary traces the artist’s time in Ireland and examines the complex relationship Francis Bacon had with the country of his birth. Surprisingly few people are aware that Bacon was born in Baggot Street, Dublin and spent much of his early life in Ireland. Bacon was thought to have left Ireland in his teens, never to return but recently discovered diaries from 1929 written by Bacon’s lover and patron, Eric Allden, show otherwise.

Thanks to these diaries, a different side to Bacon is revealed with some remarkable discoveries made about the artist’s early life and work. The documentary charts a course from Dublin to Kildare, London, Monaco and Renvyle in Galway, bringing the diaries to life. Clayton goes on a road trip to retrace Bacon’s steps and explore what the artist saw, the people he met and the impact this had on

On this journey, Clayton talks to Dr. Margarita Cappock, an expert on Bacon who was project manager of Bacon’s reconstructed studio at the Hugh Lane Gallery and has spent twenty years researching and writing about the artist. Cappock was the first to realise the significance of the Irish chapters in Eric Allden’s diaries and highlights what this means in context of Bacon’s life and art. The documentary also includes contributions by Annalyn Swan and Mark Stevens, authors of Francis Bacon: Revelations, the latest biography on Bacon, and Martin Harrison, author of the definitive catalogue raisonné of Bacon’s paintings. John Minihan, Irish photographer and a friend of Bacon’s, provides a vivid personal insight to the man he knew, as he photographed him and socialised with him in London and Paris.

Directed and produced by Karen McGrath, Mount Venus Productions, with haunting images of the West of Ireland, shot by Director of Photography, John Fay and original music written and produced by Gavin Friday with Michael Hennessy.

Watch a clip

Adam Clayton, U2, with Dr. Margarita Cappock at the Foundation in Monaco in front of Francis
Bacon’s ‘Painting’, 1930. Courtesy Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation.
Artwork © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved
Bacon Pignon-Ernest Exchanges.jpg

A new documentary produced by the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation

The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation has just completed production of a documentary entitled Francis Bacon/Ernest Pignon-Ernest: Exchanges, directed by Alain Amiel.

On 27 September 1987, when Libération journalist Henri-François Debailleux asked Francis Bacon if he was interested in contemporary art, and that of France in particular, the British artist responded: “A few years ago I saw some photos by a French artist, Ernest Pignon-Ernest, who was making drawings on walls, and I found that very interesting.”

The two artists never met but wrote to each other several times. In fact, Bacon asked Pignon-Ernest to send him a number of enlargements of his drawings.

In this documentary, Pignon-Ernest discusses his passion for Bacon and talks about the themes common to the work of both.

In interviews, Jean Frémon, director of the Galerie Lelong, who has exhibited both artists, Yves Peyré and Frank Maubert, writers and friends of Bacon, and Libération art critic Henri-François Debailleux discuss the resonances they perceive between the two artists, and the works that connect them.

Watch the film

Patrimoine Durable

The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation renews its participation in the “Journées Européennes du Patrimoine” in Monaco

The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation is taking part in the 27th Journées Européennes du Patrimoine (Local Heritage Day) to be held in Monaco on Sunday 25 September 2022.

Our institution will offer three guided tours to its visitors, by appointment only.

To book your visit, please contact the Foundation: +377 93 30 30 33. More details on the “27th Journées Européennes du Patrimoine” here.

Inauguration of the project “École du Louvre 2021-2022”

On 11 March 2022, the École du Louvre unveiled an ambitious architectural project in the presence of Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, France’s minister for culture, and H.R.H. Princess Caroline of Hanover. This project is the brainchild of Claire Barbillon, director of the École du Louvre, and has been made possible by the exceptional patronage of Majid Boustany, president of the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation. This patronage represents the greatest support ever received by a teaching institution under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture. 

This architectural project of about 1300m2, entitled “ÉCOLE DU LOUVRE 2021-2022”, includes the redevelopment and refurbishment of the library and its documentation and IT services, and of the cafeteria, and the creation of a research centre.

Majid Boustany first formed a partnership with the École du Louvre in 2016, with the creation of a grant for research on the artist Francis Bacon. He then undertook to make the School an annual gift of books on Bacon to enrich its library collection. He has now chosen to continue his philanthropic initiative by funding this ambitious programme of works which will become a key, strategic asset for the École du Louvre and for its future national and international profile and influence. In addition to this exceptional sponsorship, Majid Boustany has also gifted to the School two sculptures by the British artist Antony Gormley, positioned in the library, an easel from Francis Bacon’s Paris studio, placed in the library lobby, and a photograph of Bacon in his London studio taken by Jesse A. Fernández in 1977, on display at the entrance to the research centre.

The decision to fund this ambitious programme stems too from Majid Boustany’s passion for that most Francophile of British artists: Francis Bacon. He lived and worked in Paris and was a regular visitor to the Paris museums, and the Louvre in particular. Indeed, some of his own paintings were inspired by works in the Louvre. The Slaves by Michelangelo, works by Raphael, Titian, Tintoretto, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Chardin, Goya, Ingres and Delacroix, all in the Louvre’s collection, were major artistic sources for Bacon and had a considerable influence on his painting practice. This direct encounter with works of art — which is a fundamental principle of studying history of art at the École du Louvre — was at the heart of his working practice.

More details on the project here

Claire Barbillon, Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, Majid Boustany and H.R.H. the Princess Caroline of Hanover © Luc Castel
Claire Barbillon, Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, Majid Boustany
and H.R.H. the Princess Caroline of Hanover   © Luc Castel
Francis Bacon: Man and Beast

The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation supports a major Bacon exhibition at the Royal Academy in London

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.

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, Head VI, 1949
Francis Bacon, Study for Bullfight No. 2, 1969
Two photos of Louise Bourgeois and Francis Bacon

The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation took part in a discussion on Francis Bacon and Louise Bourgeois

Last September, on the occasion of its ‘Louise Bourgeois. Maladie de l’Amour’ exhibition, the Hauser & Wirth Gallery in Monaco hosted an ‘in conversation’, in collaboration with the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation, focusing on the common themes and differences running through the artistic practices of Francis Bacon and Louise Bourgeois. The speakers were Cécilia Auber, the Foundation guide, and Emilie Bouvard, art historian and Director of Collections and Scientific Programmes at the Giacometti Foundation in Paris. Caroline Cros, heritage curator and art historian, was the discussion moderator.

Click here to play the film

Louise Bourgeois in her home on 20th Street in NYC in 2000.
© The Easton Foundation/VAGA at ARS, NY 
Photo: © Jean-François Jaussaud
Louise Bourgeois in her home on 20th Street in NYC in 2000.
© The Easton Foundation/VAGA at ARS, NY
Photo: © Jean-François Jaussaud
Francis Bacon, 7 Reece Mews, London, 1981
Photo © Marc Tivier
Francis Bacon, 7 Reece Mews, London, 1981
Photo © Marc Tivier
‘Francis Bacon’s Studios’, a new exhibition at the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation

‘Francis Bacon’s Studios’, a new exhibition at the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation

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.

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.

Francis Bacon Studios

Francis Bacon: Studios, the first book dedicated to photographs of Francis Bacon’s various studios

Our institution is pleased to announce the launch of its latest publication, Francis Bacon: Studios. This book invites us for the first time to take a look inside the painter’s private and intimate spaces and become witness to the unconventional conditions in which Bacon lived, worked and produced the most haunting images of his time. It features over 150 photographs of the artist’s studios, spanning from 1930 to 1992, from his first where he initiated a career as a furniture designer to his legendary chaotic studio at 7 Reece Mews that he kept for three decades. This publication includes Bacon’s quotes on his various working places, and essays by Majid Boustany and John Edwards. The photographs, many previously unseen, are drawn from the MB Art Collection which now holds over 800 prints and is the most extensive photographic archive on the British artist.

Each copy includes a numbered and stamped print of a photograph of Francis Bacon in his 7 Reece Mews studio in London, taken in 1980 by the English photographer Jane Bown.

This book has been printed in a limited numbered edition of 270, representing the number of items (photographs, books and correspondence) found in Bacon’s 7 Reece Mews studio relating to the late American photographer Peter Beard. Bacon met Beard in the mid-1960s; they shared overlapping interests, and Beard played a stimulating role in Bacon’s oeuvre as a photographer, a muse and a lifelong friend.

Only eighty copies of this publication are for sale (295€). To order a copy, please contact the Foundation.

Francis Bacon Studios publication