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Culture

Francis Bacon’s artistic leavings on show in Brussels

Francis Bacon, “Untitled” (Three Figures), circa 1981.

BRUSSELS: As Ireland helms the troubled EU, bric-a-brac from the studio of Irish-born artist Francis Bacon, who came to exemplify angst in 20th century Europe, goes on show in the Belgian capital.

Photos of a zebra carcass and an elephant foetus, of artist friends Lucian Freud and Salvador Dali, as well as sketches by Michelangelo and Velasquez torn from books, are among scores of inspirational memorabilia salvaged from the London studio where Bacon lived and worked from 1961 until his death in his 80s in 1992.

Several years later, its entire contents were handed to Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane, with its 7,500 items carefully relocated to highlight the workings of Bacon’s creative juices.

Among the several score of items on show at Brussels’ BOZAR fine arts museum are four of seven unfinished oils found in his studio as well as photographs by wildlife artist Peter Beard and the pioneering 19th-century photographic work on human motion by Eadweard Muybridge.

“Michelangelo and Muybridge are mixed up in my mind together,” Bacon once said, “so I perhaps could learn about positions from Muybridge and learn about the ampleness, the grandeur of form from Michelangelo.”

The contents from his studio are part of a show that includes works from 20 Irish artists from the Dublin museum, as well as the Irish Museum for Modern Art.

Curators said the diversity of the works from Ireland underscored that “nationality is less a matter of geography than ever before.”

”Changing States: Contemporary Irish Art and Francis Bacon’s Studio” is up at Brussels’ BOZAR fine arts museum until May 19. For more information see www.bozar.be.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 13, 2013, on page 16.

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