The Foundation is pleased to announce the release of the book Inside Francis Bacon, the third volume in the series ‘Francis Bacon Studies’, launched and published by The Estate of Francis Bacon with the financial support of our institution. Martin Harrison, editor of Francis Bacon: Catalogue, Raisonné, is the series editor.
The six essays in Francis Bacon Studies III: Inside Francis Bacon constitute a ground-breaking multi-disciplinary study of Bacon’s life and art and disclose fascinating new information about this elusive artist. Where the content of Francis Bacon Studies I and II reflected the application of theory-based methodologies, several of the authors of Inside Francis Bacon consider the artist through more traditional art-historical disciplines, including biography and the technical analysis of his paintings. This is in line with our intention that Francis Bacon Studies should embrace the widest possible range of new thinking about Bacon.
Three of the essays, those by Francesca Pipe, Sophie Pretorius and Martin Harrison, are based on archives that have been added only recently to the collection of the Estate of Francis Bacon. What they reveal will revolutionise our perceptions of Bacon. Very little is known about his early life and career, and the diaries of his two earliest patrons facilitate a much deeper understanding of his formative years than, until now, has been possible. Many of the myths that Bacon and his apologists created in the 1980s are exploded: for example, in a recent broadcast a Tate curator confidently informs the audience of Bacon’s brutal upbringing and the ‘horse-whippings’ he suffered, claims based on gossip and hearsay that evidence published in Inside Francis Bacon seriously challenges. Especially revelatory are the extensive records kept over a long period by Bacon’s doctor, Paul Brass, a generous long-term loan by Ruth Brass. Sophie Pretorius’s analysis of them will require a fundamental revision of preconceived notions about Bacon’s character and psychology, and also explains the uneven production rate of his paintings.
Sarah Whitfield sheds significant new light on both Bonnard and Bacon; she has identified concerns the two artists shared that will surprise as well as inform. Joyce Townsend draws on her scientific and technical investigations into Tate’s most important Bacon paintings, as well as comparisons with the techniques of many other artists, to advance engrossingly fresh information about Bacon’s aims and techniques. Christopher Bucklow extends his meditations on the metaphor system in Bacon’s paintings published in Francis Bacon Studies I. His ideas are always compelling and challenging, and his essay reflects wide, and perhaps unexpected, terms of reference, ranging from William Blake to Japanese ukiyo‑e prints.
More information on the book here.