Francis Bacon Exhibition

The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

poster for Francis Bacon Exhibition

This event has ended.

Born in Dublin, Ireland, Francis Bacon (1909-1992) spent most of his life in London, which he used as a base for his international artistic activities. Bacon, whose life spanned most of the 20th century, has been categorized alongside Picasso as one of the archetypal painters of the 20th century. Between 2008 and 2009, the centennial of his birth, he was the subject of a retrospective that toured some of the world’s foremost art museums, including the Tate Britain (United Kingdom), the Prado Gallery (Spain), and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (United States).

Bacon, most of whose important works are held in museum collections, with those from private collections fetching extremely high prices at auctions, is said to be among the most difficult artists in the world for whom to organize an exhibition. Perhaps this is the reason why it has been thirty years since a solo exhibition of his work has been held in Japan, the last time being during Bacon’s lifetime in 1983, when a show of his work toured three Japanese art museums including the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.

Timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of his death, this exhibition will introduce audiences to Bacon’s “world” by presenting around 35 of his artworks. Of these, around five will be triptychs, the format that came to symbolize his art practice, as result of which the total number will seem even higher.

The format of this Japanese exhibition is entirely original. More than simply a retrospective, it will also take the form of a themed exhibition focusing on the “body,” which was extremely important to Bacon, and comprising three “chapters” that attempt to trace the changes in his expressive style. A part that attempts to identity the influences Bacon had on “contemporaneous” artists will also be included in the form of an epilogue. In this way, this exhibition, the first to be held not only in Japan but in Asia since Bacon’s death, could be described as epoch-making in a variety of ways. As if to back this up, in addition to the five works known to be held in collections in Japan, works from major collections from around the world – including the Tate, the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Hirshhorn Museum (Washington), the Estate of Francis Bacon, and the Yageo Foundation (Taiwan) – will make the journey to Japan.
Despite the fact that various museums around the world have managed to stage Bacon exhibitions, for the last 30 years Japan has not witnessed a solo exhibition of his work. Even today Bacon continues to stimulate a great many artists across all manner of genres. We are convinced that acquainting as many people as possible to the allure of Francis Bacon is an incredibly worthwhile endeavor.


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From 2013-03-08 To 2013-05-26
Closed on Mondays (but open on 3/25, 4/1, 4/8, 4/29, 5/6)


Francis Bacon



cbliddell: (2013-03-28)

Francis Bacon: The restlessness of human existence

In the 1998 Tim Burton film “Batman,” there is a famous scene where the Joker and his gang break into an art museum and vandalize masterpieces by the likes of Rembrandt, Degas, and Vermeer. But, just as one of his henchmen is about to slash a Francis Bacon canvas, the Joker steps in to stop him, saying, “I kind of like this one.”

Read more>>

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