Francis Bacon’s Studio, Hugh Lane Gallery. Bacon’s studio was first offered to the Tate in London which, for some inexplicable reason, turned it down. So it came to Dublin where arguably the greatest painter of the 20th century was born. Francis Bacon (28 October 1909 – 28 April 1992) was an Irish-born British figurative painter known for his bold, grotesque, emotionally charged and raw imagery. His painterly abstracted figures are typically isolated in glass or steel geometrical cages, set against flat, nondescript backgrounds. Bacon took up painting in his early 20s but worked sporadically and uncertainly until his mid-30s. He drifted as a highly complex bon vivant, homosexual, gambler and interior decorator and designer of furniture, rugs and bathroom tiles. He later admitted that his artistic career was delayed because he spent too long looking for subject matter that could sustain his interest.
His breakthrough came with the 1944 triptych Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion, which in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, sealed his reputation as a uniquely bleak chronicler of the human condition. Remarking on the cultural significance of Three Studies, the art critic John Russell observed that “there was painting in England before the Three Studies, and painting after them, and no one…can confuse the two.”
Bacon said that he saw images “in series”, and his artistic output typically focused on a single subject or format for sustained periods, often in triptych or diptych formats. His output can be crudely described as sequences or variations on a single motif; beginning with the 1930s Picasso-informed Furies, moving on to the 1940s male heads isolated in rooms or geometric structures, the 1950s screaming popes, and the mid-to-late 1950s animals and lone figures. These were followed by his early 1960s variations on crucifixion scenes. From the mid-1960s he mainly produced portraits of friends and drinking companions, either as single or triptych panels. Following the 1971 suicide of his lover George Dyer, his art became more sombre, inward-looking and preoccupied with the passage of time and death. The climax of this later period is marked by masterpieces, including his 1982’s “Study for Self-Portrait” and Study for a Self-Portrait—Triptych, 1985–86.
Hugh Lane Gallery
The Hugh Lane Gallery, officially Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane and originally the Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, is an art gallery operated by Dublin City Council and its subsidiary the Hugh Lane Gallery Trust. It is located in Charlemont House (built 1763) on Parnell Square, Dublin, Ireland. The gallery was founded by Hugh Lane on Harcourt Street in 1908, and is the first known public gallery of modern art in the world. There is no admission fee and the gallery is completely wheelchair-accessible. The gallery was closed for reconstruction in 2004, and reopened in May 2006, with a new extension by Gilroy McMahon Architects. The museum has a permanent collection and hosts exhibitions, mostly by contemporary Irish artists. It has a dedicated Sean Scully room. Francis Bacon‘s studio was reconstructed in the gallery in 2001 after being dismantled and moved from London starting in 1998. The Hugh Lane is notable for its collection of French art, including works such as The Umbrellas (Les Parapluies) by Auguste Renoir; Portrait of Eva Gonzalès by Édouard Manet, Jour d’Été by Berthe Morisot and View of Louveciennes by Camille Pissarro. In 1992, the painting In The Omnibus by Honoré Daumier was stolen from the gallery, and recovered in 2014.