Barry Joule donates Francis Bacon documents to National Gallery
Ottawa, Canada - August 25, 2004
Barry Joule fait don de documents de Francis Bacon
The National Gallery of Canada is pleased to announce the donation of several documents from the studio of renowned English painter Francis Bacon (1909 - 1992). The documents are the generous gift of Barry Joule, a Canadian who was the painter's friend and neighbour during the last 14 years of his life. They will become part of the National Gallery's Library and Archives collection, where they will be available for study by scholars.
The material is related to Bacon's Study for Portrait No. 1, an oil painting of a pope owned by the National Gallery of Canada. Among the items is a heavily worked-over image of Diego Velasquez's 1650 Portrait of Innocent X, which inspired Bacon's famous series of pope portraits.
The documents were part of several bundles of material from Bacon's studio, including an album of sketches, annotated books and more than 900 worked-over photographic images. Bacon gave the material to Mr. Joule before leaving for Madrid, where he died on 28 April 1992. The collection was exhibited at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in 2000 and the Barbican Centre in London in 2001.
Mr. Joule donated most of the collection to the Tate Gallery in London last fall, and he recently gave a second group of items related to Pablo Picasso, whom Bacon deeply admired, to the Musée Picasso in Paris. The gift to the National Gallery is being made in memory of Professor Charles Pullen, a great admirer of Bacon's work who taught at Queen's University.
To recognize Joules' donation, the National Gallery is presenting an exhibition of two of the items, along with Francis Bacon's Study for Portrait No. 1, a film entitled The Other Francis Bacon (1999), and a suite of photographs by Montreal artist Sorel Cohen inspired by Bacon.
"Study for Portrait No. 1 has just returned from an exhibition of Bacon's work in Valencia and Paris," said Diana Nemiroff, curator of Modern Art at the National Gallery and organizer of the exhibition, "so this is an ideal time to show the documents.
"The reproduction of Velasquez's painting is fascinating. The lines scratched into the paper recall Bacon's use of a sort of linear cage around the figure of the pope in his own paintings. Bacon only knew Velasquez's painting from a reproduction, and this gives us an idea of how he imposed his own vision on it. This object was significant enough to him that it was the only one he had mounted and hanging in his studio."
The exhibition will be presented from 30 August to 24 October in room C215a of the National Gallery's European wing.
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