Upcoming Francis Bacon Catalogue Raisonné Will Feature Over 100 Unseen Works

The last noteworthy catalog for the artist was published in 1964.

Francis Bacon. Photo: via Prezi.

Francis Bacon.
Photo: Courtesy of Prezi.

Attention all Francis Bacon fans: in April 2016, the artist’s estate will publish Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné, the first comprehensive catalog of his oeuvre. The book, which has been in production for a decade, will feature over 100 previously unseen canvases, some of which were recently unearthed from a private Italian collection.

“The stuff that has been written about Bacon, some good and much of it less good, is based on about a third of his work,” art historian Martin Harrison, who worked on the catalog, told the Guardian. “The great revelation of the new catalogue raisonné will be that, for the first time, Bacon’s entire output can be seen and assessed. It will, we believe, have a profound effect on the perception of his paintings.”

This past year, Surrealist painter Salvador Dalí saw two new landscapes added to his catalogue raisonné, while a new digital edition of Paul Cézanne‘s catalogue added Baigneurs (1902–06) to the artist’s oeuvre.

It’s widely known that Bacon destroyed much of his own work, especially those from early in his career. But what’s even more remarkable is that of the 584 surviving works by the artist, only about half of them are accessible. The Bacon most art lovers know is only based on about 180 paintings, a comparatively small sliver of his overall production.

Lot 18, Francis Bacon, Two Studies for Self-Portrait (1977). Sotheby's.

Lot 18, Francis Bacon, Two Studies for Self-Portrait (1977).
Image: Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Up until now, the most comprehensive catalog of Bacon’s work was published in 1964 by the Tate’s then-director John Rothenstein, who reportedly had difficulties publishing the book because the artist was notoriously uncooperative.

“They had the singular difficulty of having Bacon alive, I didn’t suffer from that,” Harrison notes.

Highlights from the catalog include a previously-unknown “Screaming Pope” painting, as well as the first one he painted from the series. Harrison describes the first edition to the seminal series as: “not an amazingly great painting but it is amazingly important historically.”

The catalog went to print last month, but unfortunately, there are four known works that could not be located located, and information regarding their whereabouts is still sought by the Francis Bacon Estate: Lying Figure (1953), Man with Head Wound (1955), Mlle Suzy Solidor (1957), Head of Woman (1961).

Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné will be released on April 28, 2016, the 24-year anniversary of Bacon’s death.

Featured image: Detail of Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion (1944).

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics