Exhibition catalogues

A chronological selection of solo and group exhibition catalogues from the MB Art Collection.


Group exhibition

Exposition Internationale d’Art Moderne (UNESCO)

Musée national d'art moderne, Paris (now Centre Georges Pompidou)

November – December 1946

In November, Bacon travelled from Monaco to Paris to see the UNESCO exhibition, which included Painting 1946, exhibited under the title Peinture.

Bacon’s work was exhibited alongside that of artists such as Roy de Maistre, John Minton, Henry Moore, Rodrigo Moynihan, Paul Nash and Graham Sutherland.

Unesco - Paris, 1946



Group exhibition

Francis Bacon Paintings / Robin Ironside Coloured Drawings

Hanover Gallery, 32A St. George St, Hanover Square, London W1

8 November – 10 December 1949

On 8 November 1949, twelve Bacon paintings, including the ‘Head’ series that the artist had started in 1948 in Monaco, were shown alongside drawings by the neo-romantic artist Robin Ironside.

Francis Bacon and Robin Ironside, The Hanover Gallery, 1949


Group exhibition

British Painting 1925-50 – First Anthology

The Arts Council


The Arts Council, 1951

In 1951, Bacon’s paintings were exhibited with those of artists such as Lucian Freud, John Minton, Paul Nash, Graham Sutherland, Ben Nicholson and John Piper.

Bacon’s Figure Study II, 1945-46 was exhibited under the title ‘The Magdalene’.

The artist stated that he never thought of the figure as Mary Magdalene and never associated it with the crucifixion.



Solo exhibition

Francis Bacon

The Institute of Contemporary Arts, London


The ICA, 1955

Bacon’s first retrospective, consisting of thirteen paintings, was mounted by the ICA.


Solo exhibition

Francis Bacon

Galerie Rive Droite, 82, rue du Faubourg St-Honoré, Paris

12 February – 10 March 1957

Rive Droite, 1957


Bacon’s first solo exhibition in Paris.

Since the late 1920s Bacon was closely acquainted with the ‘City of Light’, which he loved above all other cities.


Solo exhibition

Francis Bacon

Hanover Gallery, 32A St. George St, Hanover Square, London W1

21 March – 26 April 1957

The Hanover Gallery, 1957

After a decade during which his palette was dominated by silver and sombre greys, Bacon broke out with the Van Gogh series, painted in the brightest, most saturated colours. These paintings were inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s The Painter on the Road to Tarascon, 1888. Bacon identified with Van Gogh’s overriding desire to recreate reality.

Bacon’s gestural paintwork shows the rapidity with which the paintings were executed. After the exhibition opening, two paintings, including Study for a Portrait of Van Gogh VI, were delivered still wet and stories abounded of viewers’ clothing having been marked by oil paint.


Solo exhibition


Hanover Gallery, 32A St. George St, Hanover Square, London W1

6 June – 6 July 1959

The Hanover Gallery, 1959

This was Bacon’s last show at the Hanover Gallery.

From 1948, Erica Brausen, the gallery’s founder, was Bacon’s first, and most understanding and devoted art dealer. Bacon always said that Erica Brausen had the best eye in the art world.


Solo exhibition

Francis Bacon Paintings 1959-60

Marlborough Fine Art, 17-18 Old Bond Street, London W1

March – April 1960

Marlborough Fine Art, 1960

Bacon’s first exhibition at the Marlborough Fine Art.

Marlborough was founded in 1946 by Frank Lloyd, along with Harry Fischer. They were joined in 1948 by David Somerset, now the Duke of Beaufort. Gilbert Lloyd, Frank’s son, assumed control of Marlborough Fine Art in London from 1972.

In 1958, Bacon left the Hanover Gallery for the Marlborough Fine Art, which represented Bacon until the end of his life.

Bacon sensed that Marlborough was more soundly financed, more forceful and better in the long term for his career.


Solo exhibition

Francis Bacon

The Tate Gallery, London

24 May – 1 July 1962


On 24 May 1962, the Tate Gallery presented a major retrospective of Bacon’s work comprising 91 pictures. The artist painted Three Studies for a Crucifixion, 1962, for this show.

On the opening day of the show, along with congratulatory messages, Bacon received a telegram informing him that Peter Lacy had died the previous day in Tangier.


Solo exhibition

Francis Bacon

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, in collaboration with the Art Institute of Chicago

October 1963 – January 1964

Guggenheim, New York, 1963

Bacon’s first American museum retrospective, which comprised 64 works.


Solo exhibition

Francis Bacon

Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, New York

November – December 1968

Marlborough-Gerson, 1968

Bacon made his first trip to the United States in November 1968 for his exhibition at the Marlborough-Gerson Gallery in New York. He was accompanied by his lover and muse George Dyer. They stayed at the Algonquin Hotel.


Solo exhibition

Francis Bacon

Galeries nationales du Grand Palais

26 October 1971 – 10 January 1972

Grand Palais, 1971


In October 1971 Bacon was given the accolade of a retrospective, comprising 108 pictures, at the Grand Palais, Paris.

On the 24th of October, two days before the exhibition preview, George Dyer was found dead at the Hôtel des Saints-Pères, Paris.

During that period, the French periodical Connaissance des Arts conducted a poll to elect the ten most eminent contemporary living artists. Bacon’s name topped the list.


Francis Bacon: “Oeuvres récentes”

Galerie Claude Bernard, Paris

19 January – 26 March 1977


On 19 January 1977, a select group of twenty Bacon paintings were exhibited at the Claude Bernard gallery. This now legendary Parisian show attracted such a crowd that it resulted in the police cordoning off the rue des Beaux-Arts to limit the immense crowds coursing towards the gallery.

Michel Leiris wrote the preface to the exhibition catalogue.


Solo exhibition

Francis Bacon: Peintures récentes

Galerie Lelong, Paris

30 September – 22 November 1987


After his first show at Galerie Maeght-Lelong, Paris in 1984, Bacon had an exhibition in 1987 at the Galerie Lelong.

Jacques Dupin prefaced the exhibition catalogue and an interview with David Sylvester was included. This exhibition further cemented Bacon’s living legend status in the French capital.


Solo exhibition

Francis Bacon

Central House of Artists, New Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

23 September – 6 November 1988

The gallery director and curator James Birch, together with Sergueï Klokhov, a Soviet diplomat, the British Council and the Marlborough Fine Art Gallery organised a Bacon retrospective in Moscow. This was a first for a living Western artist.

Twenty-two of his paintings were exhibited, all completed between 1945 and 1988.


Solo exhibition

Francis Bacon

Centre national d’art et de culture Georges Pompidou, Paris

26 June – 14 October 1996

Centre Pompidou, 1996

In June 1996, a posthumous retrospective opened at the Centre Georges Pompidou celebrating the career of one of the ultimate “monstres sacrés” of the twentieth century. David Sylvester, the co-curator of the exhibition, assembled 86 pictures covering Bacon’s career.


Solo exhibition

Francis Bacon: A Centenary Retrospective

Tate Britain, London

11 September 2008 – 4 January 2009

A Centenary Retrospective, 2008

A posthumous retrospective was mounted by Tate Britain in September 2008, heralding the artist’s centenary in 2009. This third Tate retrospective reassessed Bacon’s work in the light of new research that had emerged from discoveries of his studio’s content after his death. The show included around 70 works covering the artist’s career.