Wednesday 10 April 2013

Francis Bacon's Studio

Francis Bacon's Studio at The Hugh Lane, Dublin City Gallery.

Francis Bacon was born in Ireland but left at the age of 16 following a disagreement with his father. He travelled to Berlin and then on to Paris where he found a sense of purpose. An exhibition by Picasso inspired him to become an artist and Poussin's Massacre of the Innocents at Chantilly showed him how the human scream could be captured in paint. Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin caught his attention with the powerful close-up of a screaming nurse.

He first gained recognition as a painter with Crucifixion in 1933 but it was in the mid-1940s that his career took off with the success of his Three Studies for Figures at the base of a Crucifixion in 1944 and established him as a force in post-war art. He spent most of his life in London.

In 1998, John Edwards, his sole heir, donated the studio and its contents to the Hugh Lane Gallery. In August of that year, the Hugh Lane team removed the studio and its entire contents from London to Dublin. The team made a survey and elevation drawings of the small studio, mapping out the spaces and locations of the objects. The wall, floor, doors and ceiling were also removed, including the dust.

'For some reason the moment I saw this place I knew that I could work here. I am very influenced by places - by the atmosphere of a room....'


'This mess here around us is rather like my mind; it may be a good image of what goes on inside me, that's what it's like, my life is like that'.

'I can only paint here, in my studio. I've had plenty of others, but I've been here for nearly thirty years now and it suits me very well. I cannot work in places that are too tidy. It's much easier for me to paint in a place like this which is a mess, I don't know why but it helps me'.

'I feel at home here in this chaos because chaos suggests images to me. And in any case I just love living in chaos. If I did have to leave and I went into a new room, in a week's time the thing would be in chaos. I do like things to be clean, I don't want the plates and things to be filthy dirty, but I like a chaotic atmosphere'.

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