Archives & Library

About Our Collections

Francis Bacon (1909–1992)

Brief Biography of the Artist

Man in leather jacket Francis Bacon (28 October 1909 – 28 April 1992) was an English painter known for his raw, unsettling imagery. He took the human figure as his subject at a time when art was dominated by abstract styles, and he was also one of the first to depict overtly homosexual themes. Though largely self-taught, he was widely read and of great independence of mind. With his famous crucifixions, portraits of popes, self-portraits and portraits of close friends, with abstracted figures sometimes isolated in geometrical structures, he became a towering example to those dedicated to the depiction of the human figure. He built up a reputation as one of the giants of contemporary art with his unique style.

Read full Wikipedia entry:

Bacon in the Archive Collections

Substantial material:

Brian Sewell Archive

Brian Sewell (1931–2015) was a British art historian, author, critic and media personality. His highly acclaimed work for the Evening Standard and other publications led him to write on a huge range of subjects, but particularly the arts. The archive contains four files which, alongside handwritten notes and research material, include Sewell’s reviews of exhibitions featuring Bacon between 1984-2010; a fifth file comprises material relating to the 1998 Channel 4 Art House programme on the artist, in which Sewell was interviewed.

The Brian Sewell archive has been catalogued and the descriptions can be searched online.

The above archive collection contains substantial amounts of material for Bacon. You may also discover smaller quantities of material, such as individual letters referencing the artist, research notes and photographs, by searching the online catalogue and boxlists.

Bacon in the Photographic Archives

Bacon in the Library

The Library has a medium amount of material on this artist.

  • Books – over 50 books dating from the 1950s to the present day. The collection includes biographies, artist monographs, art criticism and a catalogue raisonné.
  • Exhibition catalogues – over 30 exhibition catalogues from a variety of regional and international museums and galleries.
  • Journal articles – over 15 journal articles that have been individually catalogued, dating from the 1990s to the present day published in journals such as Apollo, the Burlington Magazine and Visual Culture in Britain.
  • Auction catalogues – two auction catalogues from 2007 and 2008, both from Christie’s, London.

Bacon in Paul Mellon Centre Publications

There is one book related to Francis Bacon published by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. Bacon and Sutherland by Martin Hammer, published in 2005, is the first book to explore an intriguing artistic dialogue between Francis Bacon and Graham Sutherland, offering a rich and subtle analysis of their work up to 1950.