Francis Bacon (Irish, 1909–1992) was one of the most unique, engaging Figurative painters to emerge after World War II. Largely self-taught, Bacon was born in Dublin and moved to London when he was 16, and then to Paris and Berlin in the following few years. During that time, he painted in watercolors and, upon returning to London, began working as a furniture and interior designer. In the 1940s, he pursued painting more seriously, and began creating works featuring macabre, homoerotic, and violently expressive imagery.

His portraits and figurative works often pictured screaming, agonized, or caged figures, which solidified his reputation as an overwhelmingly compelling, if somber, observer of human nature. In the 1960s, Bacon painted many portraits featuring close-up views of his subject’s heads; he often worked in series, creating sustained bodies of subject matter, such as in his Popes or three-part portrait series. After the death of his lover in 1972, his work became even more personalized, with a renewed focus on mortality. While he received both positive and negative acclaim during his lifetime, his distinctive style is unmatched. Since his death in 1992, his work has continued to grow in popularity, and has been featured in exhibitions at the Tate Gallery in London, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., the Stedelijik Museum in Amsterdam, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York, among many other institutions.

Timeline

1909
Born in Dublin, Ireland on October 28
1929
Began oil painting
1932
Turned to a type of Surrealism
1992
Died in Madrid, Spain on April 28

Exhibitions

2009–2010
Dublin, Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane, "Francis Bacon: A Terrible Beauty" (solo)
2008–2009
London, Tate Britain,"Francis Bacon," Traveling Exhibition (solo)
2008
Kontellationem III, Stadel Museum, Frankfurt/Main
2008
Modern Prints - Klassische Moderne bis Pop Art, Galerie Proarata, Zurich
2006–2007
"Francis Bacon - The Violence of the Real" K20 Kunstsammlung Nordhein Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Germany
2006
"Bienal del Aire," Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas Sofía Imber (MACCSI), Caracas
2006
"Summer Exhibition," Marlborough Fine Art (London) Ltd, London, UK
2006
"Mirada múltiple," Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, Bilbao
2006
"Francis Bacon," Gagosian Gallery, London, UK
2005
"Francis Bacon: Die Portraits," Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg
2005
"De Picasso a Basquiat," Musée Maillol, Fondation Dina Vierny, Paris
2005
"Celebración del arte: Medio siglo de la Fundación Juan March," Fundación Juan March, Madrid
2005
"Summer Exhibition 2005," Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
2005
"Francis Bacon: Studying Form" Faggionato Fine Art, London, UK
2004
"What´s modern?" Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY
2004
"Hidden Histories," The New Art Gallery Walsall, Walsall, West Midlands, UK
2004
"Modern Means: Continuity and Change in Art from 1880 to the Present," Mori Art Museum, Tokyo
2004
"Francis Bacon: Le Sacré et le Profane," Musée Maillol, Fondation Dina Vierny, Paris
2003
Vienna, Kunsthistoriches Museum. This exhibition is travelled to: Basle, Fondation Beyeler
2003
Valencia, Institut Valencia d’Art Modern
2003
Oporto, Museu de Arte Contemporanea, Museu Serralves
2002
"Francis Bacon: Last Paintings" Faggionato Fine Art, London, UK
2002
New York, Tony Shafrazi Gallery
2002
Arles, Fondation Vincent Van Gogh-Arles
2002
New York, Marlborough Gallery
2001
Holland, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag
2001
Dublin, Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art
2000
Dublin, Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art
1999
San Diego, Museum of Contemporary Art
1999
New Haven, The Yale Centre for British art. This Exhibition later travelled to: Minneapolis, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts; San Francisco, Museum of Modern Art; Fort Worth, Museum of Modern Art
1999
London, Tate Gallery, (Works on Paper)
1999
London, Faggionato Fine Arts
1999
Paris, Galerie Lelong
1998
Denmark, Humlebaek, Louisiana Museum
1998
London, Hayward Gallery
1998
New York, Tony Shafrazi Gallery
1996
Paris, Centre G Pompidou, MNAM. This exhibition later travelled to: Munich, Haus der Kunst
1993
New York, Marlborough Gallery
1993
Lugano, Museo d’Arte Moderna
1993
Venice, Museo Correr, XLV Biennale di Venezia
1993
London, Marlborough Fine Art
1992
Madrid, Galeria Marlborough
1990
New York, Marlborough Fine Art
1990
Liverpool, Tate Gallery
1989
Paris, Galerie Lelong
1989
London, Marlborough Fine Art
1989
Washington, Hirshhorn Museum. This exhibition later travelled to: Los Angeles, County Museum; New York, MOMA
1988
Moscow, New Tretyakov, Central House of Artists
1988
Tokyo, Marlborough Fine Art
1987
New York, Marlborough Gallery
1987
Basle, Galerie Beyeler
1987
Paris, Galerie Lelong
1985
London, Marlborough Fine Art
1985
London, Tate Gallery. This exhibition later travelled to: Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie; Berlin, Nationalgalerie
1984
Paris, Galerie Maeght- Lelong
1984
New York, Marlborough Gallery
1984
London, Thomas Gibson Gallery
1983
London, Marlborough Fine Art
1983
Tokyo, National Museum of Modern Art. This exhibition later travelled to: Kyoto, National Museum of Modern Art; Nagoya, Aichi Prefectural Art Gallery
1980
Mannheim, Stadtische Kunsthalle
1980
New York, Marlborough Gallery
1978
Madrid, Fundacion Juan March. This exhibition later travelled to: Barcelona, Fundacio Joan Miro
1977
Paris, Galerie Claude Bernard
1977
Mexico, Museo de Arte Moderno. This exhibition later travelled to: Caracas, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo
1976
Marseilles, Musee Cantini
1975
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art
1975
Zurich, Marlborough Galerie
1972
Milan, Galleria del Milione
1971
Paris, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais. This exhibition later travelled to: Dusseldorf, Stadische Kunsthalle
1970
Turin, Galleria Galatea
1968
New York, Marlborough Gerson Gallery
1966
Milan, Galleria Toninelli Arte Moderna
1966
Paris, Galerie Maeght. This exhibition later travelled to: Rome, Marlborough Galleria d’arte; London, Marlborough Fine Art; Siegen, Oberes Schloss
1965
Hamburg, Hamburger Kunstverein. This exhibition later travelled to: Stockholm, Moderna Museet; Dublin, Municipal Gallery of Modern Art; London, Marlborough Fine Art
1964
Houston, Contemporary Arts Association
1963
London, Marlborough Fine Art
1963
New York, Granville Gallery
1963
New York, Solomon R Guggenheim Museum. This exhibition later travelled to: Chicago, The Art Institute
1962
London, The Tate Gallery. This exhibition later travelled to: Mannheim, Kunsthalle; Turin, Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna; Zurich, Kunsthaus; Amsterdam, Stedelijk Musuem
1962
Milan, Galleria Galatea
1961
Nottingham, Nottingham University
1960
London, Marlborough Fine Art
1959
London, Hanover Gallery
1959
Chicago, Richard L.Feigen Gallery
1958
Trin, Galleria Galatea. This exhibition later travelled to: Milan, Galleria dell’Ariete; Rome, Galleria l’Obelisco
1957
Paris, Galerie Rive Droite
1957
London, Beaux-Arts Gallery
1955
London, ICA
1954
London, Hanover Gallery
1953
New York, Durlacher Brothers
1953
London, Beaux-Arts Gallery
1952
London, Hanover Gallery
1951
London, Hanover Gallery
1934
London, Transition Gallery
1928–1929
London, Artist’s Studio

Literature

2005
Sylvestor, David, and Harrison, Martin, 'Francis Bacon: Studying Form' Faggionato Fine Art in association with the Estate of Francis Bacon.
1999
Harrison, Martin, 'Francis Bacon: Paintings from the Estate 1980-1991', Faggionato Fine Art, London
1997
Peppiat, Michael, ‘Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma’, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York
1996
Kundera, Milan, ‘Bacon, Portraits et Auto-portraits’, Les Belles Lettres, Paris
1996
Schmied, Wieland, ‘Francis Bacon, Commitment and Conflict’, Prestel, Munich
1996
Sollers, Philippe, ‘Les Passions de Francis Bacon’, Gallimard, Paris
1994
Deleuze, Gilles, ‘Francis Bacon, Logique de la Sensation’ (2 vol), La Différence, Paris
1993
Farson, Daniel, ‘The Gilded Gutter Life of Francis Bacon’, Century, London
1987
Sylvester, David, ‘The Brutality of Fact, Interviews with Francis Bacon’, Thames & Hudson, London
1986
Davies, Hugh and Yard, Sally, ‘Bacon’, Abbeville, New York
1983
Leiris, Michel, ‘Francis Bacon, Full Face and in Profile’, Phaidon, Oxford
1980
Sylvester, David, ‘Interviews with Francis Bacon: 1962-1979’ (New and enlarged edition), Thames and Hudson, London
1975
Trucchi, Lorenza, ‘Francis Bacon’, Abrams, New York
1964
Alley, Ronald and Rothenstein, John, ‘Francis Bacon’, Thames & Hudson, London
1964
Russell, John, ‘Francis Bacon’, Methuen, London