At the heart of the MB Art Collection is a selection of Bacon’s paintings from the late 1920s to the 1980s. It includes three historical pieces: his first two works and his first oil on canvas. The founder has also acquired paintings by artists whom Bacon knew - such as Graham Sutherland, Roy de Maistre, Frank Auerbach, Denis Wirth-Miller, Vladimir Veličković, Maggi Hambling, Clare Shenstone and Louis Le Brocquy - and painters who inspired him, like Walter Sickert. Works by artists who were influenced by Bacon's oeuvre, such as Robert Longo, complete the collection.
The photographic archive of the MB Art Collection is regularly enhanced. It gathers photographs of Bacon from the early 1940s to the early 1990s; more than fifty photographers, including leading photographers as well as the artist's friends, family and lovers, are represented. Their diversity and quality make this the most important collection of Bacon photographs in the world.
Bacon’s first lithographs were published in 1966 by Galerie Maeght in an issue of the art magazine Derrière le Miroir that was entirely dedicated to Bacon and prefaced by Michel Leiris. In 1971, to coincide with his legendary retrospective at the Grand Palais, Bacon’s first numbered and signed lithograph was printed under the artist’s close supervision. The MB Art Collection holds a large selection of graphic works covering Bacon’s oeuvre from 1966 to 2002.
Bacon was inspired by a spectacular diversity of source imagery. This visual reservoir is invaluable in researching the artist’s creative process. The artist often stated that “images breed other images in me”. Our collection comprises a selection of working documents from the painter's various studios.
Letters, Postcards and Official Documents
The MB Art Collection archives encompass official documents and the largest range of correspondence between Bacon and his family, companions and closest friends, as well as writers and gallery curators or owners. These documents provide intriguing details of his relationships, travels and work.
Artefacts found in Bacon’s studios have been carefully chosen for their scholarly value. These unique items enlighten us on his working methods.
In 1930 and 1931, Bacon lived at 17 Queensberry Mews West in London’s South Kensington, making his debut as a furniture and rug designer. His work as a designer was singled out in the August 1930 issue of The Studio magazine. His experience with interior spaces and his various designs later filtered into the composition of his paintings. The MB Art Collection holds the largest number of very rare items from Bacon’s interior designer period.
The collection encompasses the most extensive selection of exhibition catalogues, from Bacon’s earliest shows through to his posthumous exhibitions, and includes both solo and group exhibitions.
Our archives hold a selection of audio recordings, documentaries and filmed interviews.
After the success of his Grand Palais retrospective in 1971, the artist began spending a considerable amount of time in the French capital and from 1974 to 1987 took a studio-apartment at 14 rue de Birague in the historic Marais district. The MB Art Collection now houses the most important selection of items, materials and working documents used by Bacon in this studio.