Friday, September 05, 2008

Francis Bacon: Box of tricks

Francis Bacon in his studio
Francis Bacon in his studio

There's a wonderful story in The Guardian today about the artist's studio, recreated in a Dublin gallery after his death in 1992.

Barbara Dawson, director of the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin, remembers very clearly the day in 1997 when she climbed the steep stairs and entered Francis Bacon's studio at 7 Reece Mews, South Kensington. It had been left the way it was when he died, on April 28 1992, and it was a chaos of slashed canvases, paint-splashed walls, cloths, brushes, champagne boxes, a large mirror. She stood and stared for a long time, in a kind of incredulity, "and actually it became quite beautiful." She began to see "paths cut through it," and details. "The last unfinished painting was on the easel when I went in there, and on the floor underneath the easel was a short article on George Michael, from Wham, about how he liked to be photographed from one side. It was like looking into somebody's mind."

Bacon interviewed in his studio from a 1985 episode of The South Bank Show

A major retrospective at the Tate Britain - Bacon's third there and first posthumous - opens on the 11th of this month.

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