The MB Art Collection

This private collection now includes more than 2,500 items dedicated to Francis Bacon. At the heart of the MB Art Collection is a selection of Bacon’s paintings from the late 1920s to the early 1980s, along with work by peers and other key influences.

Bacon’s first lithographs were published in 1966 by Galerie Maeght in an issue of the art magazine Derrière le Miroir that was entirely dedicated to Bacon and prefaced by Michel Leiris. In 1971, Bacon’s first numbered and signed lithograph was printed under the artist’s close supervision, to coincide with his legendary retrospective at the Grand Palais. The MB Art Collection holds a large selection of graphic works covering Bacon’s oeuvre from 1966 to 1992.

The photographic archive of the MB Art Collection has been built up assiduously over a number of years. It comprises photographs of Bacon taken by leading photographers from the early 1940s to the early 1990s, as well as pictures taken by his friends, family and lovers.

Bacon was inspired by a spectacular diversity of source imagery. This visual reservoir is invaluable in researching the artist’s creative process. The artist often stated that “images breed other images in me”. In our collection we have gathered a selection of working documents from Bacon’s various studios.

Our archives encompass official documents and a wide range of correspondence between Bacon, his family, companions and closest friends as well as gallery curators, owners and writers. These documents provide intriguing details of his relationships, travels and work.

Artefacts once owned by the artist and found in his studios are held in the collection and have been carefully chosen for their scholarly value. These unique items further illuminate us on his working methods.

Between 1929 and 1931, Bacon established himself as a furniture, mirror, light and rug designer at 17 Queensberry Mews West, in London’s South Kensington. His work as a designer was singled out in the August 1930 issue of The Studio magazine. His experience with interior spaces and his various designs later filtered into the composition of his paintings. The MB Art Collection includes several rare items from Bacon’s interior designer period.

A comprehensive collection of exhibition catalogues, from Bacon’s earliest shows through to posthumous exhibitions, is held in our archives. An important filmographic archive of the artist also completes our collection.

A library dedicated to Francis Bacon has been established in the Foundation’s headquarters, offering an essential resource for scholars.