Have you ever wanted to go behind the scenes of a masterpiece? Many of us have been lucky enough to have visited our favourite artworks hanging in galleries. But we rarely see the background behind them, just see the finished product. The Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane in Dublin however offers a chance to see the actual studio of one of our greatest painters, Francis Bacon.
The studio was donated to the gallery after Francis Bacon’s death and brought over from his property in London. It was then recreated exactly in Dublin. Everything from his studio, from the floor to the ceiling, even the dust was reassembled exactly as Francis left it for the last time! In total there are some 7,000 items in the small room which makes for a chaotic scene, but it gives you a great impression of the man as he was.
Among the many treasures in the exhibit including art equipment, books, photographs and furniture, are one hundred slashed and destroyed canvases. These give you an impression of the techniques used by the artist to create his works and span some fifty years of his career. For me, it is one of the more poignant aspects of the room.
The recreation of this space allows the visitor to get an unrivaled and exciting glimpse behind the scenes of the artist responsible for the worlds most expensive painting ever sold at auction (when not factoring in inflation). The triptych, Three Studies of Lucian Freud (1969) sold recently in New York for an astounding sum of $142 million (eclipsing the price paid for “The Scream” last year) is a truly stunning piece of art and clearly encapsulates the unique style of this talented artist. The painting, in three separate pieces was actually split up for a while in the 1970s before being reunited in the 1990s.
The painting was purchased by an anonymous phone bidder so we have no idea where this masterpiece is heading. We can only hope that this fine treasure is not hidden forever but instead made public. I am a huge believer in important artwork being made available to the public as opposed to being locked away in private collections. It would be amazing if it were to be displayed in Bacon’s home town. However I must accept that whom ever purchased this painting has the right to do what they please with it. In the meantime you can always pop along to the fantastic Hugh Lane Gallery and visit the studio of the great artist to get a sense of th mind that created this chaos, and beauty.
Admission to the gallery is free too!
Want to know more? Check out Francis Bacon: Five Decades by Anthony Bond which is available in hardback or The Gilded Gutter Life of Francis Bacon: the Authorised Biography by Daniel Farson in kindle and paperback.
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