Bacon, Freud, Hockney & The London Painters

Connor Linnie at the Dublin Review of Books:

Bacon’s various London studios became notorious for their chaotic admission of decadence and squalor. The most famous of these was his studio at 7 Reece Mews in South Kensington, which was posthumously donated in its entirety to the Hugh Lane Gallery in 1998. The first-floor studio at Reece Mews was reached by climbing a steep wooden staircase with a thick rope used as a makeshift handrail. Visitors entering through the narrow studio door were immediately confronted by a deluge of materials. Detritus mounds of old paint tins, tubes and slashed canvasses reached up toward the pale skylight. The floorboards were covered in a congealing mass of magazines, photographs, catalogues. Bacon’s maxim was that “chaos breeds images” and he absorbed the anarchic atmosphere of his studio space into his developing art practice and aesthetic. Spontaneity and chance were portals of discovery. He drew inspiration for his nightmarish scenes from the photographic collage of screaming dictators, hysterical patients, bullfighters and wrestlers strewn beneath his easel across the studio floor. Images suddenly suggested themselves on the rough unprimed canvass in the slip of a brush or an accidental spatter of pigment. A single strong stroke could define the outline of a man’s jaw, a cloth smearing animate a recoiling movement. Bacon even brashly mixed dust from the floorboards into one of his early paintings to capture the charcoal texture of a suit lapel.

more here.

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