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CR Number
46-02
Artist
Francis Bacon
Figure Study II

1945 - 1946

Oil on canvas

57 ¼ x 50 ¾ in. (145 x 129 cm)

Further Details
1964 Cr Number
Alley 18
Collection
Kirklees Metropolitan Council, Huddersfield Art Gallery, Huddersfield
Provenance
The Lefevre Gallery (Alex Reid and Lefevre Ltd), London
Contemporary Art Society, London, 1946
Kirklees Metropolitan Council, Huddersfield Art Gallery, Huddersfield (formerly at Bagshaw Art Gallery, Wilton Park, Batley), presented by the above 1952
'Simon Starling: Never Mind The Same River (Possible Futures, Probable Pasts)', Camden Arts Centre, London, 16 December 2010 - 20 February 2011
'Les figures de la liberté', Musée Rath , Genève, 27 October 1995 - 07 January 1996 (10)
'British Contemporary Art 1910-1990: Eighty years of collecting by The Contemporary Art Society', Hayward Gallery, London, and tour , 03 December 1991 - 19 January 1992 (unnum. as 'Study for the Magdalene-Figure Study II')
'British Art in the 20th Century: The Modern Movement', Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, 09 May 1987 - 09 August 1987 (226)
'British Art in the 20th Century: The Modern Movement', Royal Academy of Arts, London, 15 January 1987 - 05 April 1987
'Contrariwise: Surrealism and Britain 1930-1986', Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno, 28 February 1987 - 11 April 1987 (9)
'Contrariwise: Surrealism and Britain 1930-1986', Polytechnic Gallery, Newcastle, 10 January 1987 - 21 February 1987
'Contrariwise: Surrealism and Britain 1930-1986', Victoria Art Gallery, Bath, 22 November 1986 - 03 January 1987
'Contrariwise: Surrealism and Britain 1930-1986', Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, 20 September 1986 - 15 November 1986
'Englische Kunst der Gegenwart', Künstlerhaus Palais Thurn und Taxis , Bregenz, 23 July 1977 - 30 October 1977 (15)
'Narrative Painting in Britain in the 20th Century', Camden Arts Centre, London, 10 February 1970 - 08 March 1970 (unnum.)
'Primitives to Picasso: An Exhibition from Municipal and University Collections in Great Britain', Royal Academy of Arts, London, 06 January 1962 - 07 March 1962 (261)
'Contemporary Art Society: 50th Anniversary Exhibition: The First Fifty Years 1910-1960', Tate Gallery, London, 01 April 1960 - 08 May 1960 (1)
'Fifty Years of British Art', Bradford City Art Gallery, Bradford, March - June 1954 (503)
'Pictures from Yorkshire Galleries', Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield, 1952 (1)
'15 Contemporary British Painters', Leeds City Art Gallery, Leeds, December 1950 - January 1951 (11)
'The Contemporary Art Society: An Exhibition of a Selection from the Acquisitions of the Contemporary Art Society from its Foundation in 1910 up to the Present Day', Tate Gallery, London, 27 September 1946 - 31 October 1946
'Blast to Freeze: British Art in the 20th Century', Les Abattoirs, Toulouse, 24 February 2003 - 11 May 2003 (unnum.)
'Blast to Freeze: British Art in the 20th Century', Kunstmuseum, Wolfsburg, 14 September 2002 - 19 January 2003
'La ricerca dell'identita', Palazzo Reale, Milan, 16 November 1974 - 15 January 1975 (111)
'Recent Paintings by Ben Nicholson, Graham Sutherland and Francis Bacon, Robert Colquhoun, John Craxton, Lucian Freud, Robert MacBryde, Julian Trevelyan', The Lefevre Gallery (Alex Reid and Lefevre Ltd), London, 05 February 1946 - 03 March 1946 (15) (as 'Figure Study (No 2)')
'Paintings by Francis Bacon, Paintings and Etchings by S.W. Hayter, Sculptures and Drawings by Barbara Hepworth', V Bienal do Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paolo, São Paolo, September - December 1959 (Bacon 1) (as 'The Magdalen')
'Posters: Picasso, Matisse, Léger, Braque, Miró Etc; Francis Bacon: Three Studies from the Painting of Innocent X by Velasquez; Hilly Paintings', Hanover Gallery, London, 14 September 1950 - 21 October 1950
'British Painting 1925-1950: First Anthology' organised by Arts Council , Touring exhibition organised for the Festival of Britain 1951 , 20 June 1951 - 16 September 1951 (3) (as 'The Magdalene')
'Francis Bacon', Museo d'Arte Moderna, Lugano, 07 March 1993 - 30 May 1993 (7)
'Bacon', Palazzo Reale, Milan, 05 March 2008 - 29 June 2008 (8)
'Francis Bacon', Tate Gallery, London, 24 May 1962 - 01 July 1962 (8)
'Francis Bacon', Kunsthalle Mannheim, Mannheim, 18 July 1962 - 26 August 1962 (7)
'Francis Bacon', Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna, Turin, 11 September 1962 - 14 October 1962 (7)
'Francis Bacon', Kunsthaus Zürich, Zürich, 27 October 1962 - 25 November 1962 (7)
'Francis Bacon', Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 11 January 1963 - 18 February 1963 (6) (as 'The Magdalene')
'Francis Bacon', Centre national d'art et de culture Georges Pompidou, Paris, 27 June 1996 - 14 October 1996
'Francis Bacon', Haus der Kunst, Munich, 01 November 1996 - 26 January 1997 (7)
'Francis Bacon: A Retrospective', Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven, 25 January 1999 - 21 March 1999
'Francis Bacon: A Retrospective', Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, Minneapolis, 08 April 1999 - 27 May 1999
'Francis Bacon: A Retrospective', The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, 13 June 1999 - 02 August 1999
'Francis Bacon: A Retrospective', Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, 20 August 1999 - 15 October 1999 (3)
'Francis Bacon in Dublin', Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, Dublin, 01 June 2000 - 31 August 2000 (5)
'Francis Bacon', Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Den Haag, 27 January 2001 - 13 May 2001 (unnum.)
'Francis Bacon: Tate Centennial (2008-9)', Tate Britain, London, 11 September 2008 - 04 January 2009
'Francis Bacon: Prado Centennial (2009)', Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 03 February 2009 - 19 April 2009
'Francis Bacon', Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 18 May 2009 - 16 August 2009 (unnum.)
'Five Decades (2013)', Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 November 2012 - 24 February 2013 (unnum.)
'Francis Bacon', Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, 26 October 1971 - 10 January 1972 (3)
'Francis Bacon', Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf, 07 March 1972 - 07 May 1972
'Francis Bacon', Tate Gallery, London, 22 May 1985 - 18 August 1985
'Francis Bacon', Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, 19 October 1985 - 05 January 1986
'Francis Bacon', Nationalgalerie, Berlin, 07 February 1986 - 31 March 1986 (4)
'The Human Body (1998)', Hayward Gallery, London, 05 February 1998 - 05 April 1998 (2)
'Francis Bacon', Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 18 October 1963 - 12 January 1964
'Francis Bacon', Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 24 January 1964 - 23 February 1964 (3) (as 'The Magdalene')
'Francis Bacon Gemälde 1945-65', Kunstverein, Hamburg, 23 January 1965 - 21 February 1965 (2)
'Francis Bacon: Målningar 1945-1964', Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 27 February 1965 - 04 April 1965 (2)
'Francis Bacon', Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, Dublin, April - May 1965 (2)
'Francis Bacon: Paintings 1945-1982', The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, 30 June 1983 - 14 August 1983
'Francis Bacon: Paintings 1945-1982', The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, 13 September 1983 - 10 October 1983
'Francis Bacon: Paintings 1945-1982', Aichi Prefectural Art Gallery, Nagoya, 12 November 1983 - 28 November 1983 (2)
'Francis Bacon: Paintings', Central House of the Artists, New Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, 23 September 1988 - 06 November 1988 (2)
'Francis Bacon', Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 12 October 1989 - 07 January 1990
'Francis Bacon', Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, 11 February 1990 - 29 April 1990
'Francis Bacon', Museum of Modern Art, New York, 24 May 1990 - 28 August 1990 (2)
'Francis Bacon: Recent Paintings', Hanover Gallery, London, 14 September 1950 - 21 October 1950 (unnum.)
'Francis Bacon in the 1950s', Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts , Norwich, 26 September 2006 - 10 December 2006
'Francis Bacon in the 1950s', Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin, 29 January 2007 - 15 April 2007
'Francis Bacon in the 1950s', Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, 05 May 2007 - 30 July 2007 (2)
'Francis Bacon', Museum of Modern Art (MoMAT), Tokyo, 08 March 2013 - 26 May 2013
'Francis Bacon', Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Toyota, 08 June 2013 - 01 September 2013 (1)
Ronald Alley, John Rothenstein, Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné and Documentation (London: Thames & Hudson, New York: Viking Press 1964) . No. 18; pp. 11-12, 35, 38-39; ill. No. 18, unpaged, (b&w)
Daniel Farson, The Gilded Gutter Life of Francis Bacon (London: Vintage, 1994) . pp. 98, 251
David Sylvester, Looking Back at Francis Bacon (London: Thames & Hudson, 2000) . pp. 25-30; ill. No. 15, p. 27
Martin Harrison, In Camera: Francis Bacon, Photography, Film and the Practice of Painting (London: Thames & Hudson, 2005) . pp. 49, 50, 92, 125, 226; ill. No. 250, p. 226
Michael Peppiatt, Francis Bacon: Studies for a Portrait: Essays and Interviews (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2008) . p. 258
Francis Bacon: A Terrible Beauty, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, Dublin, 28 Oct. 2009-7 Mar. 2010; exh cat. (Dublin: Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane, 2009) . p. 12, 14
Martin Hammer, Francis Bacon and Nazi Propaganda (London: Tate Publishing,2012) . pp. 52, 101-102, 109-112, 120, 160, 200, 218; ill. No. 61, p. 108
Martin Harrison (ed.), Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné (London: The Estate of Francis Bacon, 2016) . pp. 82, 152, 166, 167-168, 172, 192; ill. p. 169

The information in the present section on francis-bacon.com is based on the data in Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné by Martin Harrison and Rebecca Daniels, which was published by The Estate of Francis Bacon in 2016. The following ‘Notes for readers’ are extracted from the catalogue raisonné (Vol.1, p.102 and 103) and elaborate on the methodology and thinking behind the compilation and presentation of some data, such as titles, dates and media.

 

Notes for readers

Paintings are catalogued chronologically, under the year of their completion: thus a painting dated 1956-57 will be found in 1957. Undocumented paintings, to which only approximate (circa) dates can be attached, are generally placed at the end of the year in which they are believed to have been painted; this rule is departed from when there is firm evidence that a painting was made at a specific date during a certain year (for example ‘Street Scene (with Car in Distance)’, 1984 (84-03).

Titles of paintings placed in inverted commas, for example ‘Figure with Cricket Pad’, c.1982 (82-09), were not applied by Bacon or by his gallerists, and are merely descriptive. Among the paintings with descriptive titles in the catalogue, many did not emerge into public view until after 1998. Some of the titles initially given to them have been revised here; for example, ‘Figures in a Landscape’, c.1956 (56-11) has been substituted for ‘Two Figures in the Grass’, which is more logical in view of its relationship with Figures in a Landscape, 1956-57 (57-01).

 

Media

In the past most of Bacon’s paintings have been described as ‘oil on canvas’. But he employed many other media, and was fond of mixing sand, dust, fibres and pastel, for example, with his oils. While every effort has been made to include these details, until paintings are examined (and ideally scientifically tested) with the glass removed, the descriptions of media will inevitably be incomplete.

 

Dimensions

Canvas dimensions are given in imperial measurements, height preceding width, followed by metric; this conforms with the British manufacture of Bacon’s canvasses.

 

Signatures

After 1969, Bacon titled, signed and dated, on the reverse of the canvas, a majority of his paintings: before that date he only did so intermittently. It has been our aim to record all such details, but there are almost certainly omissions. The modern practice of fixing backing boards on paintings means that, even when granted privileged access to works, it is not always possible to inspect the reverse side.

 

Photography dates

Paintings were usually sent to be photographed shortly after leaving Bacon’s studio. The photography dates provide key data, therefore, in the chronology of paintings.

 

Alley

Alley numbers, for example (Alley 106), are those assigned to each painting in the first catalogue raisonné, Ronald Alley and John Rothenstein, Francis Bacon (London: Thames & Hudson; New York: Viking Press, 1964).

 

Destroyed paintings

Bacon destroyed many hundreds of paintings. The so-called ‘slashed canvasses’ are not (with one exception, Double Portrait of Lucian Freud and Frank Auerbach, 1964 (64-03)) included in this catalogue. Forty such canvasses, found in Bacon’s studio after he died, are now in Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane. Margarita Cappock published them in 2005 under the heading ‘Destroyed Canvasses’, which raised questions regarding Bacon’s intentions with the destructions. On small portrait canvasses he – or a friend – invariably cut out the head, and on the large canvasses the heads and sufficient of the main figurative elements to nullify the ‘image’ were excised. Doubtless Bacon cut the canvasses so as to leave the stretchers intact for reusage, but while he could not have foreseen the tattered fragments eventually having a commercial value, or being exhibited, he could have rendered the destruction more complete (by burning the fragments, for example). His partial destructions were, typically, ambivalent, while as the creator of images that had ‘failed’, the connotations of violence in his taking a knife to them has clear psychological implications.

Four canvasses removed from Bacon’s studio in 1978 appeared on the market in April 2007, and a further five, from a separate source, were sold in June 2007; six fragments of canvas which had been given in the 1950s to the Cambridge artist Lewis Todd, who painted on their primed sides, were auctioned in March 2013.

Paintings with the suffix ‘D’ in the catalogue (for example 67-15D) are destroyed. Two of these are paintings which had been sold and were destroyed in accidents while in private ownership; a third was damaged beyond restoration when it fell into Tokyo Dock. Other paintings with this suffix in the present catalogue were destroyed by Bacon but had been exhibited publicly before he did so; since images of them are accessible in catalogues, they have been included for the sake of completeness.

In the 1964 catalogue raisonné, under pressure from Bacon, Ronald Alley consigned abandoned or destroyed paintings to two appendixes, classified as ‘A’ and ‘D’. These compromise categories have been jettisoned in the present catalogue, and the extant paintings placed where they occur in the chronology. A compelling reason for ceasing to adopt these categories is that of the nine paintings Alley listed as ‘Destroyed’ in 1964, four in fact survive.

Abandoned paintings

On 30 July 1996 David Sylvester wrote to the then owner of ‘Lying Figure’, c.1953 (53-21), who was disappointed he had not included it in the Bacon retrospective at the Centre Pompidou, Paris. He explained that none of the pictures listed in the 1964 catalogue raisonné as ‘Abandoned’ was treated as a candidate for inclusion, adding ‘it seems reasonable to me that during an artist’s lifetime and for a few years after his death, a retrospective exhibition should not include works that he considered abandoned. I think that a different attitude should be taken when an artist has been dead for some years.’ Sylvester volunteered the comment: ‘As we all know, works which an artist abandoned can still be works of great value: there are any number of such works by a variety of masters in the museums of the world. In my opinion “Lying Figure” is a very fine example of Bacon’s work.’

The question of ‘finish’, as signifying a putative state of completion, is probably less relevant in the case of Bacon than most other artists. An atheist and nihilist, the only ‘finish’ he recognised – and was haunted by – was death: to finish a painting was, perhaps, analogous to dying. It was neither whimsical nor accidental that he called so many of them ‘Study for…’: he was being not so much tentative as open-ended. Moreover, if Fragment of a Crucifixion, 1950 (50-02), in which more than half of the canvas is unpainted, was considered by Bacon a ‘finished’ painting, it is counterintuitive to categorise ‘Lying Figure’, c.1953 (53-21), for example, as ‘unfinished’.

Notes on titles

Robert Melville, reviewing the 1964 Alley/Rothenstein catalogue raisonné in Studio International, July 1964, observed that Study from Innocent X, 1962 (62-2), despite having been painted only two years previously, had already been given three different (if unofficial) titles – Red Pope, Red Pope on Dais, and Red Figure on a Throne. Melville doubted that Bacon gave any of his paintings the title ‘Pope’, and pointed out that when he was working for Erica Brausen at the Hanover Gallery, ‘we used to call them “cardinals” rather than “popes” in the presence of visitors, to make sure that no one would be offended.’ Melville predicted that all the paintings in the 1964 catalogue would be thenceforth known by the titles assigned to them by Ronald Alley. This precept has been adhered to in the present catalogue. Furthermore, for the ‘post-Alley’ years, 1963 to 1991, the titles established by Bacon and Marlborough Fine Art have been adopted consistently; for example, although Painting, 1980 (80-09) was exhibited in 1999 with the descriptive title Three Figures, One with a Shotgun, subsequent research has shown that its original title was Painting, and has been reverted to here.

The five works Bacon included in his first exhibition, in 1930, all had specific titles. In the present catalogue the titles of paintings dating from 1929 and 1930 follow those adopted by Alley, but they have been placed within inverted commas since it is highly unlikely that Bacon titled them as they are, by their media; (Alley had to negotiate Bacon’s indifference – or hostility – towards his pre-1944 œuvre).

© The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved. DACS 2017