Figure in a Landscape, 1945 takes centre stage for this Catalogue Raisonné Focus. The piece is currently on display at London’s Tate Britain as part of the major exhibition ‘All Too Human: Bacon, Freud and A Century of Painting Life’. This painting marked Bacon’s return to canvas after a shortage during the war and this one may have been acquired second-hand as a printed label on the stretcher is marked ‘Dicksee & Co, 1895.’ The painting’s origins are somewhat shrouded in mystery as Martin Harrison FSA notes in the Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné, 2016, Volume II:
‘X-rays show that the painting went through many alterations, including the partial obliteration of a disturbing grin on the face of the machine-gun operator and painting out a profile head in the right underside of the umbrella. Insofar as an X-ray image is a reliable guide, the latter resembles several Cézanne self-portraits, but its academic style raises doubts over Bacon’s authorship; an artist who had used the canvas previously could have painted this head.’
Figure in a Landscape, 1945 was first exhibited in a group exhibition at the Lefevre Gallery, New Bond Street in April 1945. However it was another of Bacon’s work in the show, the ground-breaking triptych Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion, 1944, which caught the attention of the public and critics and finally launched Bacon’sname.
Alongside Figure in a Landscape, 1945, other rarely seen works currently exhibited at Tate Britain include Portrait, 1962 and Triptych 1974-77 – both of which are shown in a UK public gallery for the first time in over thirty years. Bacon’s partners Peter Lacy and George Dyer respectively, serve as the subjects for these pieces with Triptych 1974-77 Bacon's final homage to Dyer. The exhibition is curated by Elena Crippa and Laura Castagnini and celebrates how artists have captured intense moments of life in paint, portraying personal and immediate experiences. Later in 2018, the show is set to tour to the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest.
If you’d like to order a copy of the ‘Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné’ please visit Heni Publishing’s website.
'All Too Human: Bacon, Freud and a Century of Painting Life'
Displaying through to 27 August 2018
Tate Britain, London
*Please note all details including names, dates and featured works, opening days/hours are subject to change. Ahead of a visiting, we recommend contacting Tate Britain for all confirmation regarding the display.
Excerpts: Martin Harrison, FSA. 45-05 Figure in a Landscape Catalogue Raisonné Volume II pages 158-161.