Published globally by The Estate of Francis Bacon on 30 June 2016, Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné is a landmark publishing event that presents the entire oeuvre of Bacon’s paintings for the first time and includes many previously unpublished works.
The impeccably produced five-volume, slip-cased publication, containing each of Bacon’s 584 paintings, has been edited by Martin Harrison FSA, the pre-eminent expert on Bacon’s work, alongside research assistant Dr Rebecca Daniels. An ambitious and painstaking project that has been ten years in the making, this seminal visual document eclipses in scope any previous publication on the artist and will have a profound effect on the perception of his work.
Bacon is known to have destroyed many of his paintings. Of the 584 that survive only about 300 were accessible or in circulation; it is testimony to Harrison’s exacting and expert work that the new catalogue raisonné includes all 584 paintings.
On tracking down the paintings, Martin Harrison says: “It was only about two years ago that there were more than a hundred paintings we had not located. That list was whittled down fairly steadily, although the last five were extremely difficult. Indeed one, Head with Raised Arm, 1955, proved impossible to find: it was last heard of in Italy more than fifty years ago.”
Printed on 170 gsm GardaMatt Ultra stock in Bergamo, Italy, at Castelli Bolis, the five volumes of Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné are boxed within a clothbound slipcase, and supplied within a bespoke protective shipping carton. The catalogue contains around 800 illustrations across 1,538 pages within five clothbound hardcover volumes.
The three volumes that make up the study of Bacon’s entire painting oeuvre are bookended by two further volumes: the former including an introduction and a chronology, and the latter a catalogue of Bacon’s sketches, an index, and a bibliography compiled by Krzysztof Cieszkowski.
In addition to the 584 paintings, the catalogue contains illuminating supporting material. This includes sketches by Bacon, photographs of early states of paintings, images of Bacon’s furniture, hand-written notes by the artist, photographs of Bacon, his family and circle, and fascinating x-ray and microscope photography of his paintings.
“Irrespective of the care taken in documenting his extant oeuvre, the great revelation of the new catalogue raisonné will be that, for the first time, Bacon’s entire output can be seen and assessed,” says Harrison. “It will, we believe, have a profound effect on the perception of his paintings.”
Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné is now available. For more information, visit: www.francis-bacon.com for details.
Image: Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné