Francis Bacon: Five Decades

Sneha Sikand of Saffronart on the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ upcoming retrospective

Portrait of Michel Leiris, 1976
Image credit: Art Gallery NSW

Sydney: Opening this November to commemorate British born artist, Francis Bacon’s twentieth death anniversary is the first major exhibition of his work in Australia. Considered one of the most controversial figurative artists  of the twentieth century, Bacon’s works usually garner an instantaneous reaction from the viewer.

The Curatorial Director of the gallery, Anthony Bond says, “We’ve done Caravaggio, we’ve done Monet, we’ve done Picasso…we need another figure of that sort of monumentality.” Francis Bacon’s name is almost always mentioned along with the other greats. Having borrowed over fifty major works and studio material from thirty-one collections across the world, including five from the Tate gallery in London, the exhibit will provide an extensive and detailed account of five decades of the artist’s life. From the artist’s shocking post-war images to his later large-scale paintings from the 1980s , viewers will be able to experience his entire oeuvre under one roof.

Bacon’s works have always projected the subject with morbidity and brutality. His paintings were always appreciated for their finesse, but people would often ask him to paint more beautiful and lively subjects. He however felt that all subjects, beautiful or not, were meant to whither – whether the next day or next year. So there really wasn’t much of a difference between his subject matter and something more beautiful. Watch this video to get a behind-the-scenes look at how the collection was put together. The exhibition will open on 17 November, 2012, and will run till 24 February, 2013.

Visit the gallery website for more information

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