As Ireland helms the troubled EU, bric-a-brac from the studio of Irish-born artist Francis Bacon, who came to exemplify angst in 20th century Europe, goes on show in Brussels this week.
Photos of a zebra carcass and an elephant foetus, of artist friends Lucian Freud and Salvador Dali, as well as sketches by Michelangelo and Velasquez torn from books, are among scores of inspirational memorabilia salvaged from the London studio where Bacon lived and worked from 1961 until his death in his 80s in 1992.
Several years later its entire contents were handed to Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, with its 7,500 items carefully relocated to highlight the workings of Bacon’s creative juices.
Among the several score of items going on show Thursday in Brussels’ BOZAR fine arts museum are four of seven unfinished oils found in his studio as well as photographs by wildlife artist Peter Beard and the pioneering 19th century photographic work on human motion by Eadweard Muybridge.
“Michelangelo and Muybridge are mixed up in my mind together, and so I perhaps could learn about positions from Muybridge and learn about the ampleness, the grandeur of form from Michelangelo,” Bacon once said.
The contents from his studio are part of a show running through to May 19 titled “Changing States: Contemporary Irish Art & Francis Bacon’s Studio”, including works from 20 Irish artists from the Dublin museum as well as the Irish Museum for Modern Art (IMMA).
Curators said the diversity of the works from Ireland underscored that “nationality is less a matter of geography than ever before.”