Guest of Honor: Francis Bacon’s “Study for Portrait VI”

January 6, 2016 - April 10, 2016

Man in purple hat and robe

The Ackland Art Museum is pleased to present Study for Portrait VI (1953) by Francis Bacon, one of the most important British artists of the twentieth century. This work belongs to a series of eight paintings which began as portraits of Bacon’s friend and biographer David Sylvester. They became, in the final stages, studies of a seated pope, in part inspired by Bacon’s long-running fascination with reproductions of the 1650 portrait of Pope Innocent X by Diego Velázquez. These paintings of Bacon’s and later works comprise what is known as his “Screaming Popes” series, a group which solidified his reputation as a major international artist in the 1950s.

The Ackland is especially fortunate to present this significant painting from the collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Despite his international stature, works by Francis Bacon have rarely if ever been exhibited in North Carolina and no publicly-accessible collections in the state currently hold any of his major paintings.

This exhibition has been made possible by the Ackland National Advisory Board.

Image Credit: Francis Bacon, British (born Ireland), 1909-1992, Study for Portrait VI, 1953. Oil on canvas, 59-5/8 x 45-3/4 in. (151.45 x 116.21 cm) (canvas), Minneapolis Institute of Art, The Miscellaneous Works of Art Purchase Fund, 58.35. © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved. / DACS, London / ARS, NY 2014, Photo: Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Reproduction, including downloading of Francis Bacon works, is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.