Studios occupied a prominent place in Francis Bacon’s creative process, and they provide the common thread for this exhibition – the first ever to be devoted to this theme. Francis Bacon’s Studios at the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation invites us to discover the intimacy of the artist’s private spaces, and to witness the unconventional conditions in which Bacon lived and produced some of the most haunting images of his time. Bacon himself acknowledged: ‘I am very influenced by places – by the atmosphere of a room’.
The first part of the exhibition focuses on the British artist’s early career as a furniture and rug designer, a practice he started in 1929 in his studio at 17 Queensberry Mews West in London. It includes exceptional items of furniture and rugs rarely shown in public. While achieving success as an avant-garde designer, with a number of commissions from his circle of friends and his patrons, Bacon also began to paint. His first canvases, painted between 1929 and 1934 and displayed here, reveal the influence of Cubism and Surrealism. The exhibition also features numerous objects, materials and working documents found in his Paris studio.
Bacon’s legendary, chaotic studio at 7 Reece Mews in London, where he worked for more than three decades and which played a major role in his work and life, is another highlight of the exhibition. This studio, which became the ‘depository’ for thousands of items, gives an enlightening insight into the artist’s creative process. A rare miniature version of the studio by the artist Charles Matton is also on show here.
The exhibition pathway is punctuated by rarely seen photographs of Bacon’s various studios taken by eminent photographers and the artist’s intimate friends. In addition, the show includes paintings by the Australian artist Roy de Maistre who was Bacon’s main mentor and a close friend.
Find out more about Francis Bacon’s influences on our website here.