Bacon appears to have first visited Monaco at the dawn of the 1940s as a letter, dated 3 June 1940, is sent to the artist in Monaco by his cousin Diana Watson, informing him of his father’s death.
In 1946, after having sold Painting 1946 to Erica Brausen for £200, he uses the proceeds to settle in Monaco. In 1948, Erica Brausen becomes his art dealer and helps him reach an important milestone in his career by securing its purchase by Alfred Barr for the Museum of Modern Art, New York. It is Bacon’s first painting to enter the collection of a museum.
Monaco remains Bacon’s main residence from July 1946 until the early 1950s. There he paints, gambles and enjoys the Mediterranean landscape and the invigorating sea air, which is beneficial for his asthma. It is in Monaco that he embarks on his ‘Head’ series and his papal figures, mainly inspired by Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X, and initiates new working practices.
He will return to the Principality regularly throughout his life. His last visit to Monaco takes place in 1990, two years before his death.
Monaco remained important to Bacon all his life and he spoke of his time there with great enthusiasm.
Find more information about Bacon’s Monegasque life by exploring the interactive map of Monaco.