Wouter Davidts Lecture ‘Displacement and Reconstruction: The Francis Bacon Studio, Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin’

Francis Bacon's 7 Reece Mews Studio, London, 1998. Photo: Perry Ogden © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved.

Thursday 9th May 2013 – 20:00, BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts / Studio, Belgium

In association with the exhibition ‘Changing States: Contemporary Irish Art & Francis Bacon’s Studio’ the BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts is hosting a lecture by Author and Head of the Visual Arts Programme at Sint Lucas University – Wouter Davidts. The lecture entitled: ‘Displacement and Reconstruction: The Francis Bacon Studio, Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin’ will see Davidts consider artists whom are well known to have thoroughly rearranged, reconstructed or extended their studios, including Gustave Moreau, Kurt Schwitters and contemporary figures such as Urs Fischer. Artists for whom the studio is not just a place for making art, but a practice in itself. With the artists subjecting the space and its architectural framework to a variety of forms of rhetoric and iconography as they work on the construction, representation, and reflection of their own artistic identity.

The lecture will be analysing the extent to which such an extensive historical background can be employed as a reference framework for a crital analysis of museum reconstructions of artist’s studios over recent decades. Particularly the striking reconstruction of Francis Bacon’s Studio at the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin.

After Francis Bacon’s death in 1992 his famously chaotic studio was as the artist left it until 1998 when it was donated to the Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane by Bacon’s heir John Edwards and Brian Clarke, executor of the Estate of Francis Bacon. The ambitious studio relocation demands included: a team of archaeologist, the first computerised archive of the entire contents of a world ranking artist’s studio, and the collection, bagging and suitable relocation of a thick layer of paint dust to the installation in Ireland. A truly remarkable project considering as an artist Bacon had never regarded his studio as a distinct artistic project, let alone as a space to be preserved for history.

Image: Francis Bacon, 'Unititled (Three Figures)': c. 1981. Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved 2013.

Along with conceptual questions about the original artistic intention and museological concerns about historical authenticity, this ambitious undertaking also raises, above all, a series of fascinating architectural issues.

This is a ticketed event priced €4 – €6. Tickets also include access to the archives of Francis Bacon on the 9th May 2013 before the lecture. For tickets and more information about the lecture click here. The exhibition ‘Changing States: Contemporary Irish Art & Francis Bacon’s Studio’ is on until the 19 May 2013.

Wouter Davidts Lecture ‘Displacement and Reconstruction: The Francis Bacon Studio, Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin’
BOZAR Centre For Fine Arts / Studio
23 rue Ravenstein, 1000 Bruxelles
www.bozar.be/
Info and tickets: 02 507 82 00

Wouter Davidts lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium. He is Head of the Visual Arts Programme at Sint Lucas University College of Art and Design, Antwerp. He is the author of Bouwen voor de kunst? (A&S/books, 2006) and co-edited The Fall of the Studio (Valiz, 2009), CRACK: Koen van den Broek (Valiz, 2010), and Luc Deleu – T.O.P. office: Orban Space (Valiz, 2012). He curated Abstract USA 1958–1968. In the Galleries at the Rijksmuseum Twenthe in Enschede (2010) and Orban Space: Luc Deleu – T.O.P. office at Stroom Den Haag (2012).

Francis Bacon Masterpiece Features in Monumental Canadian Exhibition

Francis Bacon, 'Study for a Portrait No. 1 (1956) Oil on canvas. © The Estate of Francis Bacon / DACS London 2013. All rights reserved.

100 Masters: Only in Canada, Winnipeg Art Gallery, May 11th – August 18th 2013

This May sees the start of the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s new major centenary celebrating exhibition: ‘100 Masters: Only in Canada’, exhibiting one hundred masterpieces to commemorate the WAG’s one hundred years. To make this exhibition possible twenty-four museums and galleries from across Canada and two from from the U.S.A. have lent works complementing pieces from the WAG’s collection. Of the one hundred masterpieces, fifty are the works of ‘home-grown’ Canadian artists and fifty a collection of American and European artists, including Francis Bacon.

The Francis Bacon masterpiece featuring in ‘100 Masters’ is the above ‘Study for a Portrait No. 1’ (1956) oil on canvas, lent by The National Gallery of Canada. The piece of course is one of Bacon’s iconic ‘Pope paintings’ inspired by Spanish Artist Velasquez’s ‘Pope Innocent X’ (1650). Despite producing more than thirty paintings around ‘Pope Innocent X’ Francis Bacon never actually viewed the original painting, even on a trip to Rome, instead he worked from photographs of the piece.

“…I think it is one of the greatest portraits that have ever been made, and I became obsessed by it. I buy book after book with this illustration in it of the Velasquez Pope, because it just haunts me, and it opens up all sorts of feelings and areas of – I was going to say – imagination, even, in me.”

– Francis Bacon on choosing Velasquez’s ‘Pope Innocent X’ as inspiration.

Art enthusiasts are encouraged to visit the exhibitions dedicated website for more information. Visit daily to see a countdown featuring a different masterpiece from the exhibition each day. Also be sure to read Director, CEO and Curator Dr Stephen Borys’ blog documenting how he travelled, viewed and negotiated the impressive collection of 100 masterpieces.

100 Masters: Only in Canada
May 11th – August 18th 2013
Winnipeg Art Gallery, Canada
Tel: 204 786 6641

Words ref: WAG press release & website. Quote: (David Sylvester, Interviews with Francis Bacon, 4th ed.,1993, London: Thames & Hudson, p. 24)

The Legendary Colony Room with Sophie Parkin

Tom Baker, Francis Bacon, Jeffrey Bernard, John Edwards Bruce Bernard, and others (by kind permission) © Mary Dunkin

At a special event at Leeds Art Gallery last weekend novelist, artist and actress Sophie Parkin, author of the highly acclaimed recently published book ‘The Colony Room Club 1948-2008 A History of Bohemian Soho’, discussed the legendary London establishment. The Colony Room Club was home to Soho’s eclectic art community for generations, famously including Francis Bacon.

The Colony Room Club was known to the local’s as ‘Muriel’s’, after the proprietor Muriel Belcher, of whom Francis Bacon was a great admirer, the artist painted her portrait three times. Muriel would pay Francis ten pounds a week to ‘bring in the people you like’. Before long the Colony Room was was welcoming the likes of Dylan Thomas, Louis MacNeice, Charles Laughton, E.M. Forster, Tallulah Bankhead, as well as artists Frank Auerbach Colquohoun and Macbryde, who, like Bacon are represented in the Leeds Art Gallery collection.

Opinions of the famous artistic drinking den have ranged and changed. Brian Patten described it as ‘a small urinal full of fractious old geezers bitching about each other’. Painter, novelist, and journalist – Molly Parkin (Author Sophie’s mother) saw the club as ‘a character-building glorious hell-hole. Everyone left their careers at the roadside before clambering the stairs and plunging into questionable behaviour’. A club member since the gift of membership as an 18th birthday present, Sophie Parkin herself intimately describes the club as ‘fish tank whose water needed changing’.

For more information and to buy the book ‘The Colony Room Club 1948-2008 A History of Bohemian Soho’ by Sophie Parkin visit: www.thecolonyroom.com

Francis Bacon’s ‘Study for a Portrait of P.L.’ being exhibited and auctioned by Sotheby’s

Francis Bacon, 'Study for a Portrait of P.L.' (1962) Oil on Canvas. © The Estate of Francis Bacon / DACS London. All rights reserved.

Sotheby’s London is currently exhibiting Francis Bacon’s ‘Study for a Portrait of P.L.’ until April 16th. It will then exhibit in New York from May 3rd, ahead of being auctioned at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction on May 14th.

Bacon first met former Battle of Britain pilot Peter Lacy in 1952, in Soho’s Colony Room. Their ensuing intimate relationship was said to be marked by tempestuous, often violent passion. Lacy eventually moved away to Tangier in the mid 50’s. In 1962, alongside telegrams of congratulations for his Tate exhibition, Bacon received the news of Lacy’s early death from alcohol abuse.

As always, much can be interpreted from Bacon’s intriguing, intimate art. Immediately striking in respect to the nature of Lacy’s alcohol-related death is the inclusion of a glass of wine in this piece. The posthumous timing of ‘Study for a Portrait of P.L.’, painted only months after Peter Lacy’s death in 1962, adds context to interpretations of the piece. With Bacon seemingly capturing his lover’s character as he had intimately observed it, a surviving eulogy of his ill-fated lover.

A significant highlight of ‘Study for a Portrait of P.L.’ in Bacon’s career is what appears to be the re-introduction of Picasso’s influence, with the brushwork and physiognomy of Lacy’s head reminiscent of early Picasso’s early ‘primitive heads’. This is possibly the first piece to exhibit formulaic change marking the direction of the artist’s work until his death over 25 years later. The impassioned portraits of close friends and lovers including George Dyer were surely influenced by ‘Study for a Portrait of P.L.’

Francis Bacon enthusiasts are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to see this truly poignant piece of art being exhibited in public for the first time in around 40 years.

Sotheby’s London
34-35 New Bond Street
London W1A 2AA
Tel: +44 20 7293 5000

Sotheby’s New York ‘Contemporary Art Evening Auction’
1334 York Avenue
New York 10021 US
Tel: +1 212 606 7000

Words/information referenced from: Sotheby’s

‘Francis Bacon’s Studio’ lecture at Tokyo MOMAT

Francis Bacon's 7 Reece Mews Studio, London, 1998. Photo: Perry Ogden © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved.

In association with its exhibition ‘Francis Bacon’, Tokyo’s The National Museum of Modern Art is hosting a lecture by Dr Margarita Cappock entitled ‘Francis Bacon’s Studio’, this Saturday 6th April at 2.00pm.

Dr Margarita Cappock is Head of Collections at Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, home to Francis Bacon’s relocated London studio, 7 Reece Mews, a permanent installation accurately exhibiting Bacon’s home and work space for over 30 years. The lecture promises to be thoroughly interesting, with Bacon’s notoriously chaotic studio as a subject offering up a plethora of treasures and insight on the artist’s life and work.

Following Francis Bacon’s death in 1992 his infamous studio was as the artist left it until 1998 when it was donated to the Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane by Bacon’s heir John Edwards and Brian Clarke, executor of the Estate of Francis Bacon.

The meticulous studio relocation demanded a team of archaeologist survey and draw up elevation drawings, mapping spaces and the location of its contents. The walls, floors, ceilings and doors were all relocated. The move also demanded the first computerised archive of the entire contents of a world ranking artist’s studio. Every item in the studio has a database entry consisting of an image and a factual account. The 7000 items ‘logged’ and relocated include approximately 570 books and catalogues, 1,500 photographs, 100 slashed canvases, 1,300 leaves torn from books, 2,000 artist’s materials and 70 drawings. To underline the respect, accuracy and effort of the relocation, even the thick layer of paint dust that graced the London studio, often a tool in Bacon’s art, was collected, bagged and suitable relocated to the installation in Ireland.

Francis Bacon's 7 Reece Mews Studio, London, 1998. Photo: Perry Ogden © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved.

Francis Bacon’s Studio is undoubtably an incredible ‘gateway’ to ‘Bacon’s world’, Dr Margarita Cappock’s lecture will surely be a fascinating and valuable event for anyone wanting to find out more about the artist and his work.

‘Francis Bacon’s Studio’ lecture:
2.00pm, Saturday 6th April 2013
The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

‘Francis Bacon’ exhibition:
The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
8th March – 26th May 2013
http://www.momat.go.jp/english/ 

Traveling to:
The Toyota Municipal Museum of Art
8th June – 1st September 2013
http://www.museum.toyota.aichi.jp/