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.

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

The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation is taking part in the 24thJournée Européenne du Patrimoine (Local Heritage Day) to be held in Monaco on Sunday 29 September 2019.

Our institution will offer free guided tours to its visitors, by appointment only, at:

  • 11:00
  • 14:00
  • 15:30

To book your visit, please contact the Foundation: +377 93 30 30 33 (deadline for booking is Friday 27 September).

More details on the “24th Journée Européenne du Patrimoine” here

The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation supports a major Bacon exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris

The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation supports a major Bacon exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris

The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation is taking part in the exhibition ’Francis Bacon: Books and Painting’ – to be presented from 11 September 2019 to 20 January 2020 at the Centre Pompidou in Paris – by contributing to the exhibition catalogue and the series of lectures, the ‘Bacon Book Club’ to be held at the Centre Pompidou during the exhibition period.

The last major French exhibition dedicated to the ardently Francophile Bacon was held in 1996 at the Centre Pompidou. More than twenty years later, ‘Francis Bacon: Books and Painting’ presents paintings executed from 1971, the year of the legendary retrospective held at the Grand Palais, to his final works in 1992. Didier Ottinger is the curator of this innovative exploration of the influence of literature in Francis Bacon’s œuvre. 

There are six rooms along the visitor route, placing literature at the heart of the exhibition. The event includes readings of excerpts of texts taken from Francis Bacon’s library.  The exhibition at the Centre Pompidou focuses on works produced by Bacon in the last two decades of his career. It consists of sixty paintings (including twelve triptychs, in addition to a series of portraits and self-portraits) from major private and public collections. From 1971 to 1992 (the year of the artist’s death), his painting style was marked by its simplification and intensification. His colours acquired new depth, drawn from a unique chromatic register of yellow, pink and saturated orange.

1971 was a turning point for Bacon. His Grand Palais retrospective earned him international acclaim, while the tragic death of his partner, two days before the exhibition opening, gave way to a period marked by guilt and represented by a proliferation of the symbolic and mythological form of the Erinyes (the Furies of Greek mythology) in his work. The ‘Black’ Triptychs painted in memory of his deceased friend (In Memory of George Dyer, 1971, Triptych–August 1972 and Triptych, May–June 1973), all presented at the exhibition, commemorate this loss. 

More information on the exhibition here

More information on the ‘Bacon Book Club’ here

Francis Bacon, Triptych August 1972

Vers abraxab

Presentation of the collective artist’s book Bacon, de face, de profil, tout contre, produced by the students of the Villa Arson’s printmaking studio, in collaboration with the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation

The final show of the creative lab Vers Abraxa will be presented at 109, in Nice, on Saturday 15 June from 3 to 5pm. It takes place within the scope of the event “Éclairage Public#3”, organised by the city of Nice, and with the participation of the students of the Villa Arson printmaking studio, who have created the artist’s book Bacon, de face, de profil, tout contre, in collaboration with our Foundation.

This project was initiated after several visits by the Villa Arson students to our institution and focuses on space, figures (and their inclusion in the public space), blurring, chance and gambling, a series of themes present in Bacon’s oeuvre. 

The public is invited to see 13 performances to get immersed in a student-created universe, by turns utopian and dystopian.

A new publication on Francis Bacon: Bacon and the Mind

The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation is pleased to support the book Bacon and the Mind: Art, Neuroscience and Psychology. This title is the first in the ‘Francis Bacon Studies’ series launched by The Estate of Francis Bacon with the financial support of our institution.

The series aims to disseminate writing that reflects original research and opens new perspectives on Bacon’s art and life. Martin Harrison, editor of Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné, is the series editor.

This volume includes contributions from Christopher Bucklow, Steven Jaron, Darian Leader, John Onians, Semir Zeki and Tomohiro Ishizu. Bacon and the Mind is being published by The Estate of Francis Bacon Publishing in association with Thames & Hudson.

Available to order online