Francis Bacon: Francophile

Francis Bacon: Francophile, the first book dedicated to photographs of Francis Bacon in France

Our institution is pleased to announce the launch of its latest publication, Francis Bacon: Francophile. Featuring over 150 photographs of the British artist in France, each copy includes a numbered and signed print of a photograph of Francis Bacon taken on the boulevard Saint-Germain in Paris in 1982 by the French photographer André Ostier.

The book unveils iconic and often previously unseen photographs of Bacon in France, a country for which he had a deep affection. Francis Bacon: Francophile offers a new view of this singular artist through a portfolio of photographs spanning from 1932 to 1991, accompanied by quotes from Bacon on France, its culture, its artists, and its intellectuals. The photographs are drawn from the MB Art Collection which holds the world’s most extensive collection of photographs of Francis Bacon encompassing over 700 hundred prints by more than eighty photographers.

This book has been printed in a limited numbered edition of 206 copies, representing the number of Francis Bacon’s paintings shown during his lifetime at his solo exhibitions in France. Only forty copies of this book are for sale (295€). To order a copy, please contact the Foundation.

Francis Bacon: Francophile, the first book dedicated to photographs of Francis Bacon in France
Cerise Thelwall Doussot

The second research scholarship awarded to a student of the École du Louvre

Cerise Thelwall Doussot is the recipient of the second scholarship for research in art history offered to a PhD student of the École du Louvre by the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation.

She began her doctoral dissertation in 2020. Her thesis, entitled ‘Francis Bacon et les collections parisiennes’, analyses the impact of works seen by Bacon in Parisian art collections, principally museums, on his own paintings. Starting with a comprehensive exploration of the ties between the artist and the city of Paris, this research aims to bring together the traces, testimonies and correspondence concerning not only Bacon’s Parisian sojourns, but also his museum visits and the way in which he apprehended and absorbed the art of the past in this context.

More information on this scholarship recipient

The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation produces its first documentary, ‘Bacon: the Van Gogh Sequence’

The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation produces its first documentary, Bacon: the Van Gogh Sequence

In 1957, in the middle of a transition period in his life, Francis Bacon produced a series of paintings inspired by Van Gogh’s The Painter on the Road to Tarascon.

This series marks a turning point in his work, radically changing his palette. Bright and vivid colours erupt on the canvas. The application of short thick strokes contrasts with his previous works.

This documentary is directed by Alain Amiel and produced by The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation. It is available on the Foundation website and on YouTube.

Vincent Van Gogh
The Painter on the Road to Tarascon, 1888
Francis Bacon
Study for Portrait of Van Gogh V, 1957


Francis Bacon, ‘Painting’, 1930

The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation takes part in the ‘Picasso – Bathers’ exhibition presented at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon

The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation is participating in the ‘Picasso – Bathers’ exhibition held at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon until 3 January 2021 by lending a work from the MB Art Collection: ‘Painting’, 1930, Francis Bacon’s first oil on canvas.

In this exhibition, the Musée des Beaux-Arts takes a fresh look at the theme of the bather in Pablo Picasso’s work, with the counterpoint of works by nineteenth-century artists who influenced him in his treatment of this subject. Also presented are works by Picasso’s contemporaries and those who followed on from him – specifically artists who took an interest in Picasso’s bathers or found in them a source of inspiration or a springboard from which to take a very different direction.

The exhibition has been organised in partnership with the Musée national Picasso-Paris and with the assistance of the Guggenheim Foundation, Venice. The painting that inspired the exhibition, Woman Seated on the Beach (10 February 1937), was bequeathed to the museum by the actress and collector Jacqueline Delubac and has become one of the icons of the museum’s modern art collection.

The exhibition includes almost one hundred and fifty works from many of the major public collections of Europe and the United States, as well as from private collections; it also incorporates archival material relating to the different periods Picasso spent at the seaside. It is punctuated by a wide range of photographs of the artist and his friends and family, many taken by Dora Maar and Eileen Agar.

‘Picasso – Bathers’ exhibition poster

More information on the exhibition here

Inside Francis Bacon 2020 Cover image

A new publication on Francis Bacon: Inside Francis Bacon

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.

Ecole du Louvre

An exceptional patronage in favour of the École du Louvre

On 8 June 2020, a meeting between Franck Riester, the French Minister of Culture, Claire Barbillon, the Director of the École du Louvre and Majid Boustany, patron of this project, concluded with the announcement of the launch of this major programme of works, entitled Projet École du Louvre 2021.

Following the agreement in 2016 of the partnership between the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation and the École du Louvre, in which the Foundation awards a research grant to a PhD student every four years, Majid Boustany wished to support the École du Louvre in its extensive programme of works.

This project comprises the creation of a research centre, together with the redevelopment and refurbishment of the school’s library and its adjoining offices, the restructuring of its documentation and IT services and refurbishment of the cafeteria. This ambitious architectural project, whose sole patron is the founder of the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation, will take place in the Aile de Flore (Flore wing) of the École du Louvre and is expected to reach completion in 2021. It will reconfigure the institution as a whole, placing documentation and research at the heart of education, at the heart of teaching.

The Foundation’s name will appear on various plaques within the École du Louvre.

This patronage represents the greatest support ever received by a teaching institution under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture.

Claire Barbillon, Majid Boustany and the French Minister of Culture Franck Riester.
©EDL/M. Ledur
More information on this project
Francis Bacon A study for a portrait

The first book dedicated to photographs of Francis Bacon is published by the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation

Our institution is pleased to announce the launch of its latest publication, Francis Bacon: Study for a Portrait. This book has been printed in a limited, numbered edition of 584 copies, representing the number of paintings produced by Bacon. Featuring over 180 photographs of the British artist taken by more than 60 photographers, each copy includes a signed and numbered print by the French photographer Michel Nguyen.

This book, the first to be dedicated to photographs of Francis Bacon, unveils iconic and often previously unseen images of the painter. The photographs are drawn from the MB Art Collection which holds the world’s most extensive collection of photographs of Francis Bacon. This collection encompasses over 700 hundred prints by more than seventy photographers, ranging from portraits by eminent photographers to rare snapshots caught by his inner circle.

Study for a Portrait offers a new glance at this singular artist. The portfolio, spanning from the 1920s to the 1990s, is accompanied by photographers’ anecdotes and memories of the shoots. This unique encounter through the camera lens opens revealing and personal perspectives on one of the most celebrated artists of the twentieth century.

Only 300 copies of this book are for sale (295€). To order a copy, please contact the Foundation. You can also find this publication at The Photographers’ Gallery bookshop in London as well as at the Centre Pompidou bookshop in Paris.

Mouna Bakouli

The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation awards its second scholarship to a young artist from Villa Arson

Mouna Bakouli is a Moroccan artist (born in 1992 in Casablanca), who graduated in 2018 from the Villa Arson, and who already has the distinction of being awarded the 2018 Young Creation Prize of the town of Nice.

She produces drawings, paintings and sculptures that she thinks of as fragments and then organises as a kind of super-organism or an aborted totality. She uses recovery materials (waste) on which she intervenes graphically to create figuration that ranges from the medical field (anatomy charts) to advertising and graffiti.

The evocative and poetic power of her works arises from their ambiguity, which can be found in their titles as well as their contents. Her works are populated by macabre representations (skeletons and injured bodies).

Mouna Bakouli was chosen for this scholarship from a shortlist of fourteen young artists who graduated from Villa Arson in 2018 and 2019, distinguishing themselves through their practice of painting and drawing: Raphaël Barrois, Elsa Belbacha Lardy, Hugo Bench, Beatrice Celli, Johan Christ Bertrand, Basile Ghosn, Maeva Grapain, Damian Junges, Celeste Lerouxel, Clémence Mauger, Elvire Menetrier, Amentia Siard Brochard and Janna Zhiri.

This prize gives rise to an exhibition entitled ‘Mwen malad aw’ that the artist, drawer, painter and sculptor created in situ and which will be on view until 12 January 2020.

For more information on this scholarship:

Mouna Bakouli – ‘Mwen malad aw’ – Villa Arson, Nice – Until 12 January 2020
Villa Arson is open Monday to Sunday except Tuesdays, 14.00-18.00
Closed on 24, 25, 26, 31 December, 1 and 2 January.
Free entry

The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation is taking part in the exhibition ‘Shot in Soho’ held at The Photographers’ Gallery, London.

The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation is taking part in the exhibition ‘Shot in Soho’ held at The Photographers’ Gallery, London.

The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation participates in the exhibition ‘Shot in Soho’ presented at The Photographers’ Gallery, London, until 09 February 2020, by sponsoring the event and lending several photographs from the MB Art Collection.

‘Shot in Soho’ is an original exhibition celebrating Soho’s diverse culture, community and history of creative innovation as well as highlighting its position as a site of resistance. Although the area of Soho is relatively small (one square mile) and bordered by some of London’s richest and most commercialised streets, it has remained a complex place of unorthodoxy, diversity, tolerance and defiance.

Through a range of photographs, ephemera and varied presentations, the project will reflect the breadth of life in a part of the capital that has always courted controversy and celebrated difference.

This exhibition will be a rare opportunity to see outstanding images from renowned photographers including William Klein, Anders Petersen and Corinne Day, alongside other photographers whose work in Soho is lesser known such as Kelvin Brodie, Clancy Gebler Davies and John Goldblatt.

The exhibition draws on the history, the myths and the characters of this hotbed of unpredictability, disobedience, eccentricity and tightly-knit communities.

More information on the exhibition here.

The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation supports Yves Peyré’s book: Francis Bacon ou la mesure de l’excès.

Our institution financially supports the latest book by Yves Peyré: Francis Bacon ou la mesure de l’excès, published by Gallimard on the occasion of the major exhibition ‘Francis Bacon: Books and Painting’, presented at the Centre Pompidou in Paris till 20 January 2020.

Yves Peyré, writer and friend of Francis Bacon, has produced a notably complete study of the artist’s work and life, both in terms of analysis and reproduction of paintings and drawings. He evokes the major contribution of this great unclassifiable painter, from his beginnings as a young designer in the 1920s to his last large triptychs of the late 1980s, and offers a personal and touching look at his complex personality and his extraordinary oeuvre: tormented, sometimes violent, reflecting his most intimate wounds, but nevertheless luminous in its colours and through his quest for the absolute.

This account, always based on precise facts, considerably broadens our vision of the work through in-depth interpretations, making a distinctively new contribution to what has been written already. The book is based on a flawless knowledge of the artist’s work and is enriched by the author’s close relationship with Francis Bacon, offering a philosophical, poetic and artistic stroll through the various stages of an outstanding exploration.

Available online here.