FRANCIS BACON - MONACO AND FRENCH CULTURE
From July 2 to September 4, 2016
The summer event of 2016, this exhibition dedicated to Francis Bacon – who was already during his lifetime considered to be the greatest English painter of the twentieth century – is the result of the collaboration of two men: Majid Boustany, founder of the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation, inaugurated in 2014 in Monaco, whose mission is to promote a better understanding of the work, life and methods of Francis Bacon, and Martin Harrison, author of the catalogue raisoné of the artist and curator of the exhibition. A selection of more than 60 exceptional works created between 1929 and 1991 were brought together for the occasion, from internationally renowned institutions as well as private collections identified by the curator.
Francis Bacon, born in Dublin in 1909 to English parents, was strongly influenced by French culture due to his first stay in Paris in the late 1920s, when the discovery of Picasso's paintings compelled his vocation as a painter. Settling in Monaco in 1946, he painted his first "pope" inspired by Velazquez and began to focus his work on the human form. A Parisian resident intermittently from 1975 to 1987, he had a deep admiration for France and French culture, declaring in particular, "Of all the countries I know, France is most certainly my favourite." Although his close relationship with France has never been questioned, up to this point, this theme has not been the subject of any major retrospective. Alongside major works by Bacon as well as paintings that are less known to the public, the influences of great French masters, or those with a relationship to France, such as Soutine, Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, Léger or Picasso, bring a new interpretation to the artist's world. A tour of this exhibition, refocused on the artist's relationship with Spain, was then programmed at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao from September 30, 2016 to January 8, 2017.