TABLE OF CONTENTS
Francis Bacon fonds:
Francis Bacon was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1909 and was raised in County Kildare. His father, Eddy Bacon, was a former captain in the British army and had relocated the family to Ireland in order to breed and train racehorses. His mother, Winifred Bacon, was from the wealthy Firth family of Sheffield. Following a disagreement with his father, Bacon left home at the age of 16. After a brief period in London, he travelled to Berlin and then spent a year and a half in Paris. During his stay in Paris, Bacon decided to become an artist after seeing an exhibition of drawings by Picasso at the Galerie Paul Rosenberg. On his return to London, Bacon achieved some renown as a furniture designer, but soon rejected this pursuit in favour of painting. In the fall of 1929 Bacon began to use oils and exhibited a few paintings as well as furniture and rugs in his studio. His work was included in a group exhibition in London at the Mayor Gallery in 1933, the year he created Crucifixion, one of his best know early paintings. In 1934 Bacon organized his first solo exhibition at Sunderland House, London, which he called Transition Gallery for the occasion. Discouraged by his lack of commercial success, Bacon stopped painting for several years after this exhibition, and in the late 1930s and early 1940s he destroyed many of his early works. Bacon returned to painting in 1944, creating that year the well-known triptych, Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion. In the early 1950s Bacon painted the first in a series of works based on Diego Velázquez's Portrait of Innocent X (1650), including Pope Innocent X (1951), Aberdeen Art Gallery; Study after Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X (1953), Des Moines Art Center; and Study from Innocent X (1962), private collection, New York.
Bacon's work began receiving international recognition in the late 1940s. His first solo exhibition outside England was held in 1953 at Durlacher Brothers, New York. The following year, he was one of three artists chosen to represent Great Britain at the 27th Venice Biennale. The first retrospective of Bacon's work was held at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts in 1955. A second retrospective was held at the Tate Gallery in London in 1962, with a modified version of this show travelling to Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. Other important exhibitions of Bacon's work were held at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1963; the Grand Palais, Paris, 1971; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1989-1990; and the Musée National d'art Moderne, Paris, 1996. Bacon died during a trip to Madrid on April 28, 1992.
The fonds consists of three working documents from the studio of Francis Bacon. Included is the November 1965 issue of Réalités, with graphite and dilute oil markings on several pages; a photomechanical reproduction of Diego Velázquez's Portrait of Innocent X, (1650), glued to canvas and marked with oil pastel and graphite; and a photomechanical reproduction of Bacon's Study from Innocent X (1962), overlaid with dilute oil and graphite markings. The verso of the Velázquez reproduction is possibly a fragment of a destroyed painting by Bacon entitled Study for Man with Microphone, a work first exhibited in 1946.
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of fonds.
Immediate source of acquisition: Donated to the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives by Barry Joule, 2004.
Terms governing use and reproduction: Permission to reproduce or publish material from the Francis Bacon fonds must be obtained from the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives.
Finding aids: Box list available.
Related material: The collection of the National Gallery of Canada includes one painting by Francis Bacon, Study for Portrait No. 1 (1956). The work is based on Velázquez's Portrait of Innocent X.
The working documents that make up this collection were included among more than 1,000 photographs, sketches, collages, given to Barry Joule by Francis Bacon shortly before the artist's death in 1992. After storing the collection in a bank vault for a few years, Joule began showing the pieces to experts beginning in 1996. Many of the items were exhibited in 2000 at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin and at the Barbican Centre in London the following year. Most of the documents comprising the Joule collection were donated to the Tate Gallery, London, in 2003.
Collection processed and finding aid prepared by Philip Dombowsky in 2006.
[Title of item], Francis Bacon fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives.
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