PHILIP BRINGS HOME THE BACON
WHEN respected Brisbane art dealer Philip Bacon got a small selection of Charles Blackman’s figurative works to sell on behalf of some clients, he had an idea.
“Those collectors only seemed to buy figurative works,” Bacon muses. “So that became the nucleus of an exhibition. We like to do a house show every year. This one is a bit of a survey.”
The exhibition, called simply The Figure, opens at Philip Bacon galleries in Fortitude Valley today and runs until May 8.
It features some stunning work by major artists, including Blackman, Rupert Bunny, Norman Lindsay, Ian Fairweather, Fred Williams, Ray Crooke, Stella Bowen, Jun Chen and Wendy Sharpe, to mention just a few. There’s even a charming portrait of John Olsen by Bacon’s close friend, the comedian Barry Humphries.
It’s the sort of show that would take an art museum a while to put together but putting on a museum quality “house show” is easy for Bacon.
He just has to walk downstairs to choose from a stockroom that is the envy of many.
What doesn’t Bacon have down there? “We’re looking at things we haven’t see for years,” Bacon says. “It’s quite fascinating. I guess it’s the fact that I’ve been here for almost 50 years that I have so much.”
Bacon did a stockroom sale last year which was a sensation and he held an exhibition from the stockroom again over the summer but there’s still more than he could ever show tucked away in the bowels of his gallery.
The Blackman works are stars of the exhibition but two of Bacon’s favourers are by the Australian artist George Washington Lambert. His Portrait of Annie Proctor and Portrait of John Proctor, both painted in 1907, are poignant and could be yours for a mere $195,000. But before you baulk at that price, it’s for the pair of paintings. A bargain, right?
But there are numerous works for under $10,000 and you can get the Barry Humphries one (it’s delightful) for just $5000. Bacon has been fielding calls about the show for the past week and is expecting quite a bit of interest when the gallery doors swing open at 10am today.