Revisiting Francis Bacon
By Natascha Degnova, 08.07.16
Due to the unique and grand exhibition titled ”Francis Bacon: Monaco and French Culture” that has just opened at Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, Arte Novus has decided to honour the great master that is Francis Bacon with a little piece about him and his work.
Bacon was born in 1909 and grew up in Dublin with his English parents. From the start Bacon was a loner, not by choice, but due to his severe asthma, which excluded him from a lot of activities with the other children. His sickness also made him weak and not a proper man in the eyes of his father, which added to the estranged relationship they had with each other.
In an attempt to get Bacon to do something “meaningful” with his life, his father sent him to Berlin as a young man. Berlin did not have the desired effect his father wanted, since Bacon in Berlin found a lot of likeminded people that made him feel free and liberated and more accepting of his creative nature.
Bacon moved to Paris for a while, but ended up in London where he worked as an interior designer, becoming quite successful too. However, Bacon’s passion lay in art, and after meeting his mentor Roy De Maistre, he redirected his focus to his painting career, which continued up until his death in 1992.
Many books have been written about Bacon, and this is not just due to the fact that he was a brilliant painter, but because his personality represented what people thought of as a quintessential or “true” artist. He was loudmouthed and had a flamboyant lifestyle which included drinking, gambling and complicated relationships. The most famous of which was with George Dyer, whose suicide Bacon later painted.
Bacon was also a “true” artist in the sense that he was deeply alcoholic, but still managed to be a productive painter. Even his studio looked as it should, messy and chaotic. Some viewed it as a reflection of his state of mind, while others could see it for what it was, a creative space that made sense to him.
As much as the man Francis Bacon is interesting, his art pieces are truly what makes him one of the greatest artists of all time. His paintings are mesmerizing and breath taking. They expect something from the observer, since making sense of it all on first glance is not possible, but requires a deeper involvement. His shapes give the appearance of a clear form, but as soon as something is recognisable, Bacon’s broad and twisted strokes obscures it, as if something of another world.
The paintings are thus fascinating since they both draw you in but at the same time leave you with a feeling of uneasiness. His use of colours provides depth and a perfect aesthetic balance. Bacon seemed to be able to catch the inner spirit of the subjects he portrayed, as if he saw the world and people differently to anyone else. One can easily tell that he was a sensitive creature that painted with everything he had. This sensitivity that comes through in his paintings is what makes his work so moving; you cannot take your eyes away.
What is also clear when looking at Bacon’s lifetime’s work, is the self-taught mastery. Every detail is accounted for, and his colour and composition speaks of pure craftsmanship. It is all this combined that makes him a truly great artist, knowing his skill and being able to put it together with his inner desires and thoughts, so that they translate onto canvas and move everyone who lays eyes on it.
Get more of Bacon by visiting this one of a kind exhibition that contains more than 60 pieces of Bacon's work, including his first and last piece which has never been shown in public before. It is an exhibition that has been made possible by multiple loans from both private and public collectors. More information about the exhibition and Francis Bacon can be found here.