Public Invited to Curate British Masterpieces for World’s Largest Art Gallery

Francis Bacon, 'Head VI' (1949). Oil on Canvas, © The Estate of Francis Bacon / DACS London 2013. All rights reserved.

The UK will become the world’s largest art gallery thanks to charity art project ‘Art Everywhere’ and its supporters. From August 8th 2013 ‘Art Everywhere’ will transform thousands of poster sites and billboards into iconic artworks from the national collection.

“This is a joyful celebration with no agenda other than to flood our streets with art and celebrate the creative talents and legacy of this amazing country.” Richard Reed, co-founder of Innocent Drinks and ‘Art Everywhere’ initiator.

Up until July 10th the public are invited to help curate this exhibition. They can select their favourite British artwork by ‘liking’ them and sharing them through Facebook via a shortlist of works published on the ‘Art Everywhere’ website. Included on that shortlist is the above Francis Bacon’s ‘Head VI’ (1949). The top 50 works will be reproduced and exhibited on billboard sites across the country for two weeks from August 10th – 25th 2013. You can ‘like’ Francis Bacon’s ‘Head VI’ amongst a choice of artworks from over 600 years of British art here.

‘Head VI’ is one of Bacon’s famous ‘Pope paintings’, with the haunting mouth recalling the anguished cry of the bespectacled nanny in Sergei Eisenstein’s 1925 film ‘Battleship Potemkin’. The foundations of the piece draw inspiration from ‘Portrait of Innocent X’ (1650) by Spanish painter Diego Velazquez. Famously despite producing more than thirty paintings around ‘Pope Innocent X’ Francis Bacon never actually viewed the original painting, even on a trip to Rome where it was exhibited, instead he worked from photographs of the piece:

“Because 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.

Members of the public can also become patrons of the exhibition through a ‘crowdfunding’ initiative accessed throught the project website. Donations of £3 will buy the paper and printing for one poster site and higher-level donations of £15 or more will be able to choose limited edition rewards by British artist Bob and Roberta Smith.

This momentous charitable art project is being supported by many leading artists such as enormous Francis Bacon admirer Damien Hirst:

“Art is for everyone, and everyone who has access to it will benefit from it. This project is amazing and gives the public a voice and an opportunity to choose what they want to see on their streets” – Damien Hirst

 ‘Art Everywhere’ is a collaborative project between Richard Reed, co-founder of Innocent Drinks, the Art Fund – the national fundraising charity for art, Tate, and the poster industry. For more information about the project and how to donate visit the ‘Art Everywhere’ website.

“Art Everywhere”
Millais House
7 Cromwell Place

Word ref: Art Everywhere press release. Susan May’s ‘Head VI’ text on the Arts Council Collection website. Francis Bacon quote: David Sylvester, Interviews with Francis Bacon, 4th ed.,1993, London: Thames & Hudson, p. 24).
‘Art Everywhere’ is a non-profit art project, supported by its partners and donations. Many thanks to Elizabeth Flanagan and Beth Meade.

‘Study for a Portrait of Van Gogh VI’ to Feature in 2014 MIMA Exhibition

Francis Bacon, 'Study for Portrait of Van Gogh VI' (1957) Oil and sand on canvas. Arts Council Collection. © The Estate of Francis Bacon / DACS London 2013. All rights reserved.

The Estate of Francis Bacon is pleased to announce that Bacon’s ‘Study for a portrait of Van Gogh VI’ (1957) has been chosen by the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA) to feature in its 2014 exhibition: ‘Arts and Optimism in 1950’s Britain’. The exhibition is planned to take place between February 21st and June 29th 2014.*

‘Study for Portrait of Van Gogh VI’ (1957) belongs to a series of eight paintings inspired by Van Gogh’s ‘The Painter on the Road to Tarascon’ (1888), which showed Van Gogh walking along a deserted road – once described by Bacon as “a phantom of the road”. ‘Study for Portrait of Van Gogh VI’ was purchased by the Arts Council in 1957.

Francis Bacon’s painting will be displayed alongside artist’s work including Lucien Freud, Prunella Clough, John Bratby, Keith Vaughan, Ceri Richards, Richard Hamilton, Victor Pasmore and Frank Auerbach.

MIMA’s ‘Arts and Optimism in 1950’s Britain’ will focus on fine art, design and craft, featuring paintings, period furniture and photographs. It will exhibit important recognisable works in a range of media from international, national and regional collections. ‘Art & Optimism’ will be a rich and colourful exhibition echoing the spirit of the 1951 ‘Festival of Britain’. The 1950’s is also the decade the MIMA was founded, with many of it’s important works dating from the 1957-1966 era. In addition to the national scene the exhibition will tell the story of art in Middlesbrough.

The Estate of Francis Bacon will keep audiences up to date regarding the development of this and other exhibitions of Francis Bacon’s art via the blog and the below social media profiles. Please take a moment to visit, like and follow the Estate at the below locations to keep up to date with our activities.

Facebook: Francis Bacon (artist)
Twitter: @francisbacon
Google+: Francis Bacon

Special thanks to MIMA Curator Alix Collingwood for source material and information. To find out more about the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA) please visit their website.
*Please note the title and dates of this exhibition are subject to change.

Two Bacon Works to be Exhibited and Auctioned by Sotheby’s London

Francis Bacon, 'Three Studies for Portrait of Isabel Rawsthorne' (1966). Oil on canvas. © The Estate of Francis Bacon / DACS London 2013. All rights reserved.

Francis Bacon’s ‘Three Studies of Isabel Rawsthorne’ (1966) and ‘Head III’ (1949) are to be exhibited in London this month, ahead of their auction as part of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction on June 26th.

It is fitting that these two Francis Bacon works be grouped together as their history originates from the same time period. ‘Head III’ was painted, and exhibited in the Hanover Gallery in 1949, and it is in preparing for this solo show at the Hanover Gallery that Francis Bacon came to be acquainted with Isabel Rawsthorne, who was also preparing for her own solo exhibition at the Gallery.

A muse and more to other artists including André Derain, Pablo Picasso and Alberto Giacometti, Isabel Rawsthorne radiates a heroic position amongst Bacon’s portraits. She would become an important Paris connection for Bacon’s career, and an intimate friend. A diary recovered from Bacon’s studio claims the painting was completed in under two weeks between October 21st and November 4th 1966. Such information reinforces the idea that Bacon’s work on this piece was one of considerable intense focus, culminating in painting and communicating his knowledge of his subjects magnetism. ‘Three Studies of Isabel Rawsthorne’ encapsulates the intimate relationship between Bacon and Rawsthorne, with Isabel’s graceful, strong, handsome features applied with Bacon’s signature shorthand.

Francis Bacon’s 1949 Hanover Gallery show was his first one man exhibition. It featured six ‘Head paintings’ by Bacon, with ‘Head III’ the first irrefutable human likeness in Bacon’s professional career. Another first for this piece is the full appearance of Bacon’s obsessively quoted broken glasses, no doubt inspired by Eisenstein’s 1925 film ‘Battleship Potemkin’. The work was first owned by the notable Californian collector Wright S. Ludington (1900-1992) who made the purchased prior to the Hanover Gallery Show in November 1949. Since then the piece has been exhibited in a series of important Francis Bacon exhibitions. The subject in the piece is said by some to bear a likeness to Eric Hall, an early long term partner of Bacon’s.

Francis Bacon, 'Head III' (1949). Oil on canvas. © The Estate of Francis Bacon / DACS London 2013. All rights reserved.

If you would like more incite into the pieces, please visit the following Sotheby’s links: ‘Three Studies of Isabel Rawsthorne’ and ‘Head III’, then click on the ‘Catalogue notes & Provenance tab’. The exhibition of these pieces takes place at Sotheby’s 34-35 New Bond Street, London, W1A 2AA, at the following days/times*:

Fri, 14 Jun 13 | 12:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Sat, 15 Jun 13 | 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Sun, 16 Jun 13 | 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Mon, 17 Jun 13 | 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Tue, 18 Jun 13 | 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Wed, 19 Jun 13 | 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Sat, 22 Jun 13 | 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Sun, 23 Jun 13 | 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Mon, 24 Jun 13 | 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Tue, 25 Jun 13 | 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Wed, 26 Jun 13 | 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction
19:00, June 26th 2013
34-35 New Bond Street, London, W1A 2AA, UK
+44 (0)20 7293 5891

Words ref: Sotheby’s press release and websites, including lot catalogue notes and respective original sources.
*Please note days/times are subject to change, please contact Sotheby’s for further information.


Image: 'Francis Bacon in Raincoat' by John Deakin circa 1967. © The Estate of Francis Bacon / DACS, London 2013. All rights reserved.

‘Francis Bacon’ – Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Japan, 8th June – 1st Sep 2013

The ‘Francis Bacon’ exhibition will open at the Toyota Municipal Museum of Art this weekend. After its impressive debut at the at The National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo,  art enthusiasts are encouraged to find time for this second and final leg of this first Francis Bacon retrospective in Japan and Asia for over 30 years.

‘Francis Bacon’ features over 30 of the late artist’s works including 6 triptychs. Adopting the theme of the ‘body’, an important subject to Bacon, the exhibition comprises of three chapters that attempt to trace the changes in his expressive style.

The exhibition is a chance for visitors to see five Bacon works known to be held in collections in Japan, and works from major collections from around the world – including the Tate, the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Hirshhorn Museum (Washington), the Estate of Francis Bacon, and the Yageo Foundation (Taiwan).

‘Francis Bacon’ is organised by the Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, The National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo and Nikkei Inc. For more information on the exhibition visit the Toyota Municipal Museum of Art website and the Nikkei Inc exhibition info site.

‘Francis Bacon’
The Toyota Municipal Museum of Art
8th June – 1st September 2013