Major Francis Bacon Exhibition Heads to the Guggenheim Bilbao

Monaco's big Francis Bacon show is bound for Spain.

Francis Bacon, Three Studies for a Crucifixion (1944). Courtesy of Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.
Francis Bacon, Three Studies for a Crucifixion (1944). Courtesy of Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

This year is shaping out to be a big one for one Francis Bacon, and it’s far from over. Earlier this summer, the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco leveled a full-scale exhibition of works by the beloved Irish artist, which was loosely curated around the influence of French culture on his output. This fall, the show is heading south to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, where the Spanish will be making a case for their own masters’ hands in shaping Bacon’s artistic development.

Francis Bacon: From Picasso to Velazquez” will draw heavily from the original exhibition in Monaco, and will be updated to incorporate key paintings by classic Spanish masters, including works by Pablo Picasso, El Greco, and Diego Velazquez. With nearly twenty more pieces added to the mix, the upcoming show clocks in at roughly eighty paintings, so the spread is slated to occupy eight dedicated rooms.

Francis Bacon, <em>Study for Self-Portrait</em> (1976). Courtesy of Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

Francis Bacon, Study for Self-Portrait (1976). Courtesy of Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

Both the original exhibition in Monaco and the forthcoming version in Bilbao are curated by Martin Harrison, who has distinguished himself over the last few decades as Bacon’s premiere art historical connoisseur. His earliest essay on the artist dates back to 1999.

Earlier this year, Harrison published an ambitious five-volume catalogue raisonné on the artist, which featured over one hundred never-before-seen paintings. But as he told Art Media Agency back in 2014, “I haven’t necessarily finished with Bacon, because the catalogue raisonné is not the only way of approaching his work.”

Francis Bacon, <em>Study after Velázquez</em> (1950). Courtesy of Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

Francis Bacon, Study after Velázquez (1950). Courtesy of Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

Whether this upcoming show at the Guggenheim Bilbao measures up to its Monaco counterpart is still up for review, but fans of the artist will still delight in seeing his paintings mounted against those by the painters that came before him.

Francis Bacon: From Picasso to Velazquez” will be on view at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao September 30, 2016–January 8, 2017.

Francis Bacon, <em>Portrait of Michel Leiris</em> (1976). Courtesy of Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

Francis Bacon, Portrait of Michel Leiris (1976). Courtesy of Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

 


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