With over 200 catalogues, the MB Art Collection offers the largest selection of Bacon’s exhibition catalogues, from the artist’s earliest shows through to his posthumous exhibitions, including solo and group exhibitions.
A chronological selection of Francis Bacon solo and group exhibition catalogues:
Exposition Internationale d’Art Moderne (UNESCO)
Musée National d’Art moderne, Paris (now Centre Georges Pompidou)
November – December 1946
In November, Bacon travelled from Monaco to Paris to see the UNESCO exhibition, which included Painting 1946, exhibited under the title Peinture.
Bacon’s work was exhibited alongside that of artists such as Roy de Maistre, John Minton, Henry Moore, Rodrigo Moynihan, Paul Nash and Graham Sutherland.
Francis Bacon Paintings / Robin Ironside Coloured Drawings
Hanover Gallery, London
8 November – 10 December 1949
On 8 November 1949, twelve Bacon paintings, including the ‘Head’ series that the artist had started in 1948 in Monaco, were shown alongside drawings by the neo-romantic artist Robin Ironside.
British Painting 1925-50 – First Anthology
The Arts Council
In 1951, Bacon exhibits his paintings at the Arts Council together with those of artists such as Lucian Freud, John Minton, Paul Nash, Graham Sutherland, Ben Nicholson and John Piper.
Bacon’s Figure Study II, 1945-46 was exhibited under the title ‘The Magdalene’.
The artist stated that he never thought of the ﬁgure as Mary Magdalene and never associated it with the cruciﬁxion.
The Institute of Contemporary Arts, London
20 January – 19 February 1955
Bacon’s first retrospective, consisting of thirteen paintings, was mounted by the ICA in London.
Galerie Rive Droite, Paris
12 February – 10 March 1957
Bacon’s first solo exhibition in Paris.
From the late 1920s Bacon has been closely acquainted with the ‘City of Light’, which he loves above all other cities.
Hanover Gallery, London
21 March – 26 April 1957
After having worked for nearly a decade with a monochrome palette dominated by silver and sombre tints, Bacon breaks away from it with the Van Gogh series and its bright and saturated colours. Bacon’s gestural paintwork shows the rapidity with which the paintings were executed. These paintings are inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s The Painter on the Road to Tarascon (1888). Bacon always identified with Van Gogh’s overriding desire to recreate reality.
Painted to tight deadlines, the two last paintings of the series, including Study for a Portrait of Van Gogh VI, are delivered still wet to the gallery, marking imprudent viewers’ clothing.
Hanover Gallery, London
6 June – 6 July 1959
Bacon’s last show at the Hanover Gallery which was founded by Erica Brausen and Arthur Jeffress.
In 1948, Erica Brausen became Bacon’s first art dealer. She has been highly understanding and devoted to him. Matisse, Giacometti, Miró, Duchamp, Magritte and Ernst are among the artists represented by the gallery.
Francis Bacon, Paintings 1959-1960
Marlborough Fine Art, London
23 March – Late April 1960
Bacon’s first exhibition at the Marlborough Fine Art.
In 1958, Bacon suddenly leaves the Hanover Gallery for the Marlborough Fine Art, which represents him until the end of his life. Bacon senses that this latter is more soundly financed, more forceful and will be better for his career in the long term and on an international scale.
Marlborough Fine Art was founded in 1946 by Frank Lloyd, along with Harry Fischer, and in 1948 they were joined by David Somerset. Gilbert Lloyd, Frank’s son, assumed control of Marlborough Fine Art in London from 1972.
Tate Gallery, London
24 May – 1 July 1962
On 24 May 1962, Tate Gallery presents a major retrospective of Bacon’s work comprising ninety-one pictures. For this exhibition, the artist produces a whole series of paintings including Three Studies for a Crucifixion (1962).
On the opening day of the show, along with congratulatory messages, Bacon receives a telegram informing him that Peter Lacy had died the previous day in Tangier.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (in collaboration with the Art Institute of Chicago)
18 October 1963 – 12 January 1964
This is Bacon’s first retrospective in an American museum. The artist presents sixty-four of his works for this occasion.
Galerie Maeght, Paris
15 November – 31 December 1966
Bacon’s second personal exhibition organised in Paris. The Galerie Maeght shows seventeen works of the artist and publishes a special edition of Derrière le Miroir review for the occasion. The introductory essay by Michel Leiris, entitled ‘What Francis Bacon’s Paintings Say To Me’, precedes an interview between the British artist and the art critic David Sylvester.
Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, New York
11 November – 7 December 1968
Bacon makes his first trip to the United States in November 1968 for his exhibition at the Marlborough-Gerson Gallery in New York where twenty of his paintings are shown. He is accompanied by his lover and muse George Dyer. They stay at the Algonquin Hotel.
Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris
26 October 1971 – 10 January 1972
Bacon is given the accolade of a retrospective at the Grand Palais. From 27 October 1971, one hundred and eight paintings by the British artist are on show to the Parisian public. At this time Bacon was among the rare living artists to have been granted such an honour, another being Picasso in 1966.
On 24 October, two days before the exhibition preview, his lover George Dyer is found dead at the Hôtel des Saints Pères in Paris where both were then staying.
Francis Bacon : « Œuvres récentes »
Galerie Claude Bernard, Paris
19 January – 26 March 1977
On 19 January 1977, twenty of Bacon’s recent paintings are exhibited at the Galerie Claude Bernard. This now legendary Parisian show attracts such a crowd that it result in the police cordoning off the rue des Beaux-Arts to channel visitors coursing towards the gallery.
Michel Leiris writes the preface to the exhibition catalogue.
Tate Gallery, London
22 May – 18 August 1985
In May 1985, Bacon is given a second retrospective at the Tate Gallery. One hundred and twenty-five of his paintings are exhibited. Alan Bowness, the Tate Gallery director, describes Bacon as ‘’surely the greatest living painter’’.
Francis Bacon : Retrospective
Galerie Beyeler, Basel
12 June – 12 September 1987
In June 1987, the Galerie Beyeler, which owns exceptional works by Bacon, shows thirty-six paintings by the British artist for its retrospective.
Francis Bacon : Peintures récentes
Galerie Lelong, Paris
30 September – 22 November 1987
After a first show at Galerie Maeght-Lelong in Paris in 1984, Bacon has an exhibition of eleven paintings at the Galerie Lelong in 1987.
Jacques Dupin prefaces the exhibition catalogue, which also includes an interview with David Sylvester. This exhibition further cements Bacon’s living legend status in Paris.
Central House of Artists, New Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
23 September – 6 November 1988
The gallery director and curator James Birch, together with Sergueï Klokhov, a Soviet diplomat, the British Council and the Marlborough Fine Art Gallery organise a Bacon retrospective in Moscow. This is a first for a living British artist.
Twenty-two of Bacon’s paintings are exhibited, all completed between 1945 and 1988.
Centre national d’Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou, Paris
27 June – 14 October 1996
Late June 1996, a posthumous retrospective opens at the Centre Georges Pompidou celebrating the career of one of the last “monstres sacrés” of the twentieth century. David Sylvester, co-curator of the exhibition, gathers ninety-five paintings covering Bacon’s career.
Francis Bacon : A Centenary exhibition
Tate Britain, London
11 September 2008 – 4 January 2009
A posthumous retrospective is mounted at Tate Britain in September 2008, heralding the artist’s centenary in 2009. This third Tate retrospective reassesses Bacon’s work in the light of new research that had emerged from discoveries of his studio’s content after his death. The show includes ninety works by the artist.
Francis Bacon, Monaco and French Culture
Grimaldi Forum, Monaco
2 July – 4 September 2016
The ‘Francis Bacon, Monaco and French Culture’ exhibition is organised by the Grimaldi Forum under the aegis of the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation. Showing more than 60 works by the British painter, it explores the direct and indirect influence that Monaco and French culture had on his work.
To mark this occasion, a bilingual book is compiled under the direction of Martin Harrison, editor of Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné and the exhibition’s curator. It is jointly published by The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation and Albin Michel.
The exhibition is then presented at the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao in Spain from 30 September 2016 to 18 January 2017 under the title ‘Francis Bacon: from Picasso to Velázquez’.
Francis Bacon, Invisible Rooms
7 October 2016 – 8 January 2017
The exhibition surveys an underexplored yet significant element of Bacon’s work. From the 1940s, Bacon started to introduce cubic or elliptic cages around the figures depicted to create his dramatic compositions. These imaginary chambers emphasise the isolation of the represented figures and bring attention to their psychological condition. The act of placing the sitters in ‘invisible rooms’ guides the focus of attention towards the complex human emotions that are felt but can’t be seen.
This show presents more than thirty-five works.
The exhibition was first mounted at Tate Liverpool from 18 May to 18 September 2016. The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation together with The Estate of Francis Bacon were among the Francis Bacon Exhibition Supporters Group for this largest Francis Bacon show ever staged in the north of England.
Francis Bacon: Book and Painting
Centre Pompidou, Paris
11 September 2019 – 20 January 2020
The last major French exhibition dedicated to the ardently Francophile Bacon was held in 1996 at the Centre Pompidou. More than twenty years later, ‘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.