The Foundation is pleased to announce the release of the book Francis Bacon: Shadows, the fourth 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. It explores little-known aspects of Bacon’s life and work and includes never before published paintings by the artist.
Francis Bacon: Shadows continues in the revelatory mode established by Inside Francis Bacon. It comprises six essays on diverse topics, interpretative as well as factual, which cumulatively present an abundance of fresh ideas on Bacon. The fundamental aim of the series—to rethink Bacon’s art from new perspectives—is impressively fulfilled by its eminent authors. With previously unseen photographs and some 120 colour illustrations, this beautifully-presented book boldly treads compelling new territory, bringing to light explosive new insights on the works of one of the twentieth-century’s most highly-regarded artists.
In addition to introducing the authors of this volume and the wider context around their illuminating research, the editor shows some exciting and unseen photographs and includes a tribute to a major, if under-acknowledged, Bacon scholar, David Boxer (1946–2017). Christopher Bucklow turns his attention to the contrast between Bacon’s art and the art of our own times, setting Bacon in the context of Romantic Modernism’s confidence in the unconscious as a source. Amanda Harrison’s essay ‘Bacon’s Occult Traces’ investigates the effect of these influences through evidence that has so far remained hidden, or unrecognised, in the shadows of his paintings. In ‘Between Francis Bacon and the Intellect’, Croatian writer and artist Stefan Haus conducts a stimulating extended study into the impact of Bacon’s paintings. Drawing on the ideas of philosophers from Plato and Aristotle to Kant and Hegel, Haus’s essay is simultaneously philosophical and visceral, itself forming an analogue to the intensity of Bacon’s art. In Hugh Davies’s many meetings with the artist in 1973 he was often invited to socialise with Bacon’s closest friends. Some of his notes were published in Francis Bacon: New Studies – Centenary Essays in 2009, but for the first time we shall be publishing in their entirety Davies’s unexpurgated on-the-spot diary entries. Passages previously considered inappropriate for publication now reveal a more rounded view of Bacon as both man and artist. In her enlightening essay, ‘Work on the Barry Joule Archive’, Sophie Pretorius expertly untangles the controversy and confusion that has surrounded Bacon’s supposed source material in the Barry Joule Archive. Finally, Harrison himself contributes his new essay, ‘Lost Bacon Paintings’. Except for those which had been published while he was still living, paintings that Bacon destroyed were excluded from Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné (2016). Bacon had destroyed them because he considered them ‘failures’, and to circulate images of them, it was reasoned, carried the risk of misrepresenting him. Ultimately, the larger responsibility to make his oeuvre available publicly has outweighed this decision: now these 13 as yet unknown paintings – fascinating, if unresolved – can be seen for the first time.
More information on the book here