For this month’s Catalogue Raisonné Focus we are concentrating on Interior of a Room, c. 1934.
Bacon’s source for this piece was almost certainly the monochrome reproduction of the fresco in Roberto Longhi’s Piero della Francesca (1930). The quotation is not as unaccountable as it may at first appear.
In 1929 Bacon had listened to Roger Fry’s lecture about Piero’s Nativity (1470–75, National Gallery, London) on the wireless, and immediately afterwards visited the National Gallery to view the painting. This was therefore the first occasion that Bacon, described by Eric Allden as ‘ultra modern’, was to synthesise an image by an old master.
However, his works in the 1930s did channel Picasso and Surrealism, for example Crucifixion, 1933; 33‑01, which attracted attention in the London art scene and triggered a subsequent commission.
The abstracted, bone-like forms and the overlaid geometry of diagonal lines occur in Picasso’s ‘cabana’ paintings. Bacon’s palette, too, is comparable with Picasso’s oil paintings of this period, for example Femme Couchée (April 1929), but whereas Picasso’s technique is essentially flat and heraldic, Bacon seems to be intimating here that he will become a
Excerpt: Martin Harrison, Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné (London: The Estate of Francis Bacon Publishing, 2016) p. 134.
It was in 1927 that Bacon was first exposed to Pablo Picasso’s work, visiting the exhibition Cent dessins par Picasso between June and July 1927 at Paul Rosenberg Gallery, Paris. Later, as quoted in L’Express, 15 November 1971, Bacon stated, ‘It was there I glimpsed the possibilities of reality in painting’.
Excerpt: Martin Harrison, Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné (London: The Estate of Francis Bacon Publishing, 2016) p. 77.
In Interior of a Room, c. 1934 we see Bacon continuing a dialogue with Picasso’s abstracted Cubist compositions.
Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné can be purchased through our distributor’s website.