Francis Bacon's first and last completed paintings, Watercolour, 1929, and Study of a Bull, 1991, have been announced as two of the approximately sixty paintings that will be showcased in Monaco's major exhibition ‘Francis Bacon, Monaco and French Culture’.
Opening 2 July through to 4 September, the show will be curated by Martin Harrison FSA, author of the Francis Bacon Catalogue Raisonné, with the support of the Estate of Francis Bacon and the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation. Watercolour, 1929, was painted just after Bacon's return to London from Berlin, and is one of the 2500 items in Majid Boustany's Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation Collection in Monaco. Study of a Bull, 1991, was completed month's before the artist's passing, it has never been publicly seen, reproduced, discussed or written about, having resided in a very private collection in London. The painting's discovery came whilst art historian Martin Harrison researched all known Francis Bacon works for the publication of the Francis Bacon Catalogue Raisonné. Study of a Bull is known to be Bacon's last ever completed painting with art historian Martin Harrison telling the Guardian it's maker knew he was near death:
“Bacon is ready to sign off ... he was so ill... He knew exactly what he was doing here. Is the bull making an entrance? Is he receding to somewhere else? To his cremation?”
Dust from Bacon's famously chaotic 7 Reece Mews Studio was applied by Bacon to Study of a Bull, in the same interview Harrison goes on to explain what he believes to be notable significance in this addition, within the context of the artist consciousness of mortality:
“To me that is terribly poignant... He often used to say: ‘Dust is eternal, after all we all return to dust.’”
‘Francis Bacon, Monaco and French Culture’ will be the first major event to be supported by the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation since it’s inauguration in Monaco on 28 October 2014, the anniversary of Francis Bacon’s birth. Find out more about the show and Bacon’s time in Monaco via the Foundation’s website, and via Grimaldi Forum’s exhibition page. This exhibition is also scheduled to travel to Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum in September, where the show will be titled 'Francis Bacon: From Picasso to Velázquez' taking on an alternate focus, that of Bacon's links with Spain. ‘Francis Bacon, Monaco and French Culture’ 2 July – 4 September 2016 Espace Ravel du Grimaldi Forum Monaco 10, avenue Princesse Grace – 98000 Monaco Word ref: Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation website, Grimaldi Forum website, the Guardian newspaper, theartnewspaper.com and fineartbilbio.com. Please note all details including names, dates and featured works, opening days/hours are subject to change, for all confirmation please contact Grimaldi Forum.