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Past exhibition

Francis Bacon: From Picasso to Velázquez

09.30.2016 - 01.08.2017

Francis Bacon: From Picasso to Velázquez an exhibition of almost 80 works including  some of the most important and yet least exhibited  paintings by this British artist born in Ireland, alongside the works of the classic mas ters from  French and Spanish culture who played a huge role in his career.

While a fervent Francophile, Francis Bacon was also well-versed in the work of Spanish masters such as Diego Velázquez, and the exhibition explores the influence of both cultures on his art. Bacon, who became a painter after seeing the exhibition Cent dessins par Picasso at Paul Rosenberg’s gallery in Paris, was a great connoisseur of French literature and painting. He avidly read the writings of Jean Racine, Honoré Balzac, Charles Baudelaire, and Marcel Proust and admired the art of Édouard Manet, Edgard Degas, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso.,

Aside from the initial contact with Picasso’s Parisian output of the 1920s and 1930s, the clearest evidence of Bacon’s connection with Spanish culture is undoubtedly his obsession with Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent x painted in 1650. Although Bacon had the chance to see the work at the Galleria Doria Pamphilj during a trip to Rome in 1954, he preferred, however, to have reproductions of the work rather than a memory of the original while producing his more than 50 variations on the motif. In addition to Velázquez, Bacon was fascinated by Francisco Goya, El Greco, and Francisco de Zurbarán, whose works he viewed at the Prado Museum, Madrid.

Exhibition organized by the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, in collaboration with Grimaldi Forum Monaco

Francis Bacon
Three Studies for a Crucifixion, 1962
Oil on canvas, three panels
198.1 x 144.8 cm, each panel
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 64.1700
© The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved
DACS/VEGAP, Bilbao, 2016

The Exhibition

Composition (Figure

Francis Bacon
Composition (Figure), 1933
Pastel, pen, and ink on paper, mounted on card
53.5 x 40 cm
Colección Abelló, Madrid © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved. DACS/VEGAP. Bilbao, 2016

Study for Portrait of Van Gogh I

Francis Bacon
Study for Portrait of Van Gogh I, 1956
Oil and sand on canvas
152.5 x 117 cm
The Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection, University of East Anglia
© The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved. DACS/VEGAP. Bilbao, 2016 Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd.

Study after Velazquez

Francis Bacon
Study after Velazquez,1950
Oil on canvas
198 x 137 cm
Private collection
© The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved. DACS/VEGAP. Bilbao, 2016
Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd.

Study for Self-Portrait

Francis Bacon
Study for Self-Portrait, 1976
Oil and pastel on canvas
198 x 147.5 cm
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Purchased 1978
© The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved. DACS/VEGAP. Bilbao, 2016
Photo: Jenni Carter, Viscopy

Three Studies of Figures on Beds

Francis Bacon
Three Studies of Figures on Beds, 1972
Oil and tempera on canvas
Three panels,198 x 147.5 cm
Esther Grether Familly Collection
© The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved.
DACS/VEGAP. Bilbao, 2016
Photo: Bildpunkt AG, Münchenstein

Buste of a Man in a Frame

Alberto Giacometti
Buste of a Man in a Frame (Buste d’homme dans un cadre), ca. 1946
Oil on canvas
28,1 x 22,4 cm
Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti, Paris
© Alberto Giacometti Estate/ Vegap, 2016

Tauromachy (Tauromaquia) series

Francisco de Goya
Tauromachy (Tauromaquia) series (detail), 1816
Aquatint, etching, burin, and dry point
40 etchings, 31.5 x 47.7 cm (paper)
Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao

El Artista

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Bacon, Francis

1910s Francis Bacon was born in Dublin on the 28th October 1909. He was the second of five children born to English parents settled in Ireland, but with no Irish blood ties. 1920s Berlin was Bacon’s first overwhelming cultural...

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