The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation was established in an 1897 Belle Époque house, Villa Élise. This building was chosen for its similarity to the various Monaco residences the artist inhabited in the 1940s. The Foundation brings to mind the intimate surroundings of a house rather than a gallery or a museum. The idea of such a setting was born from a remark of Bacon’s, reflecting on his exhibition at the Galerie Claude Bernard in Paris in 1977. He then said he liked exhibiting in this gallery where the spaces are small and his paintings seem more intense.
The enveloping atmosphere of the Foundation is emphasised by the materials used in its design. Special attention has been paid to the décor: each detail, each element evokes the artistic vocabulary of Bacon’s works. The curtains and tassels, together with the hanging light bulbs, are reminders of the iconographic elements from the artist’s paintings. The light-grey and silver-grey tones of the walls echo Bacon’s 1940s palette while in Monaco. The paintings, engravings, photographs, working documents and other artefacts are all framed by John Jones in London, who was Bacon’s supplier during his lifetime.
Francis Bacon’s short career as a furniture designer at the beginning of the 1930s guided the choice of the furnishings for the Foundation. In fact, at that time, his furniture, his rugs, his lights and mirrors were heavily influenced by the creations of the Modernists such as Charlotte Perriand, Eileen Gray and Le Corbusier.