The Burlington Magazine has published in its September issue an article by Katharina Günther exploring the artistic relationship between the two British artists Denis Wirth-Miller and Francis Bacon. It summarises Katharina Günther’s research, supported in 2014 by our Foundation, on the content of Wirth-Miller studio located in Wivenhoe, Essex.
The image used for the magazine front cover is Study for ‘Dog in Movement’, painted c. 1953 by Denis Wirth-Miller, that is part of the MB Art Collection.
With its strong resemblance to his London studio, the overall set-up of Wirth-Miller’s Wivenhoe atelier must have been to Bacon’s liking. For almost 25 years, he shared the small, cluttered space with Wirth-Miller on a regular basis until in 1975, Bacon bought his own property close to his friend’s house. In the working environment provided by Wirth-Miller, Bacon had found an artistic home away from home.
Katharina Guenther undertook a twelve-month research project analysing a collection of hitherto un-researched material from the MB Art Collection, associated with Francis Bacon.
During a year, the items were thoroughly studied and carefully evaluated with the intention of gaining a better understanding of the material itself, the two men’s relationship to it and Bacon’s activities in the East Anglian countryside.
The fourth scholarship for a young artist, created as part of the partnership established by the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation and Villa Arson in 2017, was awarded on 28 September 2023 at the opening of the Villa Arson autumn exhibitions.
Lukas Meir began his art studies at the Kunsthochschule Kassel, Germany, and graduated from Villa Arson, Nice, in 2023. His artistic practice includes painting and sculpture.
Meir’s work shows scenes of everyday life, using a visual language that evokes Renaissance religious painting. Through this confrontation, he seeks a level of meaning where the social and moral significance of the apparently profane can find expression.
Figuratively, the human body comes to represent the mind and social position; it becomes a surface of projection and attack oscillating between the need for protection and the need to show oneself.
Lukas Meir has already participated in exhibitions in France and Germany.
He was chosen for this scholarship from a shortlist of 8 young artists who graduated from Villa Arson in 2022 and 2023, distinguishing themselves through their practice of painting and drawing.
The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation has just completed production of a new Foundation interview, entitled Yves Peyré/Francis Bacon: a continuing conversation.
Directed by Alain Amiel, this interview with Yves Peyré, French writer and poet, and a close friend of Francis Bacon, offers riveting insights into the British artist’s life and work.
Their shared tastes in literature and art, the passionate relationship that Bacon had with France and Paris, the great success met by his exhibitions in the French capital and the influence of Bacon’s work on contemporary artists are among the topics broached by Yves Peyré. A very enlightening interview on an artist who produced a unique and enthralling oeuvre.
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.
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 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 him.
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.
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.
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.