Our Catalogue Raisonné Focus this month takes a microscope to Francis Bacon’s Lying Figure, 1961. The painting depicts Peter Lacy, Bacon’s lover, reclining in a bare room with a curved wall, black blinds blocking the light behind him. The painting was created after Bacon returned from visiting Lacy, a former fighter pilot in the Battle of Britain, in Tangier. The pair met around 1952 and their relationship trod a tempestuous path until Lacy’s death in 1962.
After a decade of painting in temporary spaces, 1961 was also the year that Bacon moved to 7 Reece Mews, South Kensington. The building, his primary home and studio, was to remain the centre of his artistic activities for the rest of his life. Martin Harrison FSA, writes in Volume III of Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné 2016:
‘Lying Figure was the second painting made after Bacon moved to Reece Mews, the new location perhaps accounting for his being in a contemplative or atavistic frame of mind. He spoke frequently of his sensitivity to ‘the atmosphere of a room’, and in the 1980s he recalled of the mews house: ‘Ijust knew from the very moment that I came here that I would be able to work here’ [Sylvester. pp.189-90].’
The painting was first shown at Seattle World’s Fair, 21 April 1962 - 21 October 1962 and is currently on view with a number of other Bacon works until 2 September at Fondation Beyeler as part of the Bacon-Giacommetti exhibition. Other works include Three Studies for Portrait of Isabel Rawsthorne, 1965, Portrait of Isabel Rawsthorne Standing in a Street in Soho, 1967, Head VI, 1949 and Triptych Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus, 1981.
The exhibition comprises of over 100 paintings and sculptures and is curated by Catherine Grenier, Michael Peppiatt and Ulf Küster. In addition to the many pieces on display, the final room of the show recreates both artists cluttered studios from historic photographs and brought to life in two full-scale projections across the walls and floor.
Fondation Beyeler, Switzerland
29 April - 2 September 2018
*Please note all details including names, dates and featured works, opening days/hours are subject to change. Ahead of a visiting, we recommend contacting Fondation Beyeler for all confirmation regarding displays.
Excerpts: Martin Harrison, FSA. 61-17 Lying Figure, Catalogue Raisonné Volume III pages 658- 659.
If you’d like to order a copy of the ‘Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné’ please visit Heni Publishing’s website.