Francis Bacon, Three studies for a self-portrait (1979–80)

Huge Francis Bacon show comes to Sydney

The Art Gallery of New South Wales hosts the painter's first major retrospective in the country

Sydney's position in the international arts world is strengthened once again this month, when the city's  Art Gallery of New South Wales opens an impressive Francis Bacon retrospective. The show, Francis Bacon: Five Decades, took over four years to put together and coincides with the 20th anniversary of the painter's death.

The exhibition consists of 50 paintings – including some of his well known triptychs – as well as photographs, films, and archival material from Bacon's studio, drawn from a wide span of the artist's career, from the 1940s to 1980s.

It's an incredible trove; The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the show comprises almost 10% of Bacon's known output. 37 separate collections from around the world lent works, including MoMA and The Tate.

Curatorial director Anthony Bond says the latter were among the among the most accommodating of institutions. Bond tells The Herald, "Of the ones we got, those from the Tate Britain were dead easy. I asked for five, and they gave them to me. I think they have a soft spot for Australia. [Director Nicholas Serota] did once say to me, 'Well, we always try to help the colonies'." 

Find out more about the show here, and take a look at our book Francis Bacon: In Conversation with Michael Archimbauda collection of intimate and revealing interviews with the legendary painter. It'll give you a great insight into this great painter's inspirations.