Francis Bacon’s painting After Muybridge - Woman Emptying a Bowl of Water and Paralytic Child on All Fours, 1965 is on display at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. The work, first shown as part of a solo exhibition at the Marlborough Gallery, London in 1965, is now part of STEDELIJK BASE, the museum’s permanent display which opened December 2017.
Photographs provided inspiration for Bacon throughout his career, but long before John Deakin provided the photographs for his famed 1960’s portraits, Eadweard Muybridge’s, The Human Figure in Motion, 1901 influenced Bacon’s canvases.
‘Even in the case of friends who will come and pose, I’ve had photographs taken for portraits because I very much prefer working from the photographs than from them.’ – Francis Bacon
The artist used Muybridge’s volume of sequential photographs of the body in action in many paintings from 1953 onwards such as Two Figures, 1953 and Two Figures in the Grass, 1954. Bacon took Muybridge’s images of wrestlers and, aware of the ambiguity between the movements of wrestlers and lovers, manipulated them to more personal and sexual ends. Muybridge’s companion volume, Animals in Motion, 1899 provided visual templates for his paintings of dogs, such as Dog, 1952.
After Muybridge - Woman Emptying a Bowl of Water and Paralytic Child on All Fours, 1965 amalgamates the child in Paralytic Child Walking on All Fours (from Muybridge), 1961 with an image suggested by the Muybridge’s sequence ‘Woman Throwing Basin of Water’. However Bacon modified the source material, making the woman stoop and balance on a rail. The subjects are set in front of separate blocks of colour suggesting separation and isolation, which is further emphasised by their supposed, continuous motion around the rail.
STEDELIJK BASE - permanent display
*Please note all details including names, dates and featured works, opening days/hours are subject to change. Ahead of a visit, we recommend contacting Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam for all confirmation regarding displays.