For March’s Catalogue Raisonné Focus we are looking at a 'Fury', c.1944, an intriguing piece with origins somewhat shrouded in mystery. The piece was one of a number Bacon left at his Cromwell Place studio in April 1951 and it was over 40 years later, in 1998, that the painting was first exhibited at the 'Francis Bacon: The Human Body’ show at Hayward Gallery, London.
The 1940’s marked a breakthrough in the British art scene for Bacon, however from this pivotal period of all the works painted by Bacon, only fifteen predating 1944 survive to this day. ‘Fury’, c.1944 has been described by art critic David Sylvester as a ‘beautiful variant’ of the famous triptych Three Studies of a Crucifixion, 1944 with both pieces depicting screaming grey figures on a vivid orange background. The visual similarities imply the pieces were created around the same time however the addition of roses in ‘Fury’, c.1944 marks them apart.
In the Catalogue Raisonné Martin Harrison FSA notes of the piece:
“Painterliness was a dominant characteristic in Bacon’s paintings immediate after 44-01, and flowers are prominent in his paintings of 1945 and 1946. Thus, while it is possible that 44-02 was commenced before 44- 01, the flowers must have been added later, probably in 1945; surface inspection confirms that they were one of the final paint layers. There are no firm grounds for the dates of 1943-44 that have been attached to it, since no paintings by Bacon can be irrefutably ascribed to 1943.”
‘Fury’, c.1944 is one of two Bacon paintings on display at Ordovas, London, until 28 April 2018 as part of the ‘London Painters’ exhibition. The second Bacon painting on display, Three Studies of George Dyer, 1966, is intriguingly coupled with Lucian Freud’s Man in a Blue Shirt, 1965 - with the sitter for both of these works being Bacon’s lover George Dyer.
Excerpts: Martin Harrison, FSA. 44-01 Fury, c.1944, Catalogue Raisonné Volume II, Pages 148-149
If you’d like to order a copy of the ‘Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné’ please visit Heni Publishing’s website.
*Please note all details including names, dates and featured works, opening days/hours are subject to change. Ahead of a visiting, we recommend contacting Ordovas for all confirmation regarding the display.