Francis Bacon: A journey into his world
The beautiful French Riviera may not immediately spring to mind as inspiration for revolutionary modern art. And yet in the 1940s it is where the painter Francis Bacon spent four years developing his most famous pictorial theme, the Screaming Popes.
Born in Dublin (he spent most of his life in Britain), Bacon first visited Monaco in 1940, moving there in 1946 until the early 1950s. He continued to visit the Principality regularly throughout his life, often lured by the gaming tables – as well as the artistic opportunities. “I became very obsessed by the casino, and I spent whole days there,” the artist recalled in a filmed interview. “I used to think that I heard the croupiers calling out the number at roulette, the winning number, before the ball had fallen into the socket.”
Now the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation in Monaco promotes a deeper understanding of the artist’s work, life and methodologies. Featuring more than 100 pieces – including paintings, graphic works, photographs, objects from his workshops and letters – it is the work of passionate art lover Majid Boustany. And Bacon’s work is worth getting to know. He attracts some of the biggest prices for any 20thcentury artist at auction, and a triptych of his friend and fellow artist Lucian Freud was sold for a world record $142m in 2013. The foundation is a unique and unmissable experience.
Free guided tours are held every Tuesday and the first Saturday of the month by reservation only. www.mbartfoundation.com