Francis Bacon at the Tate Britain

A mini belated review:

The Tate Britain on Millbank opened its leading autumn exhibition last week – a curation on Francis Bacon.

The layout is a little predictable – rooms organised by theme and time, and quite a lot of the more famous works, which usually live in New York’s MOMA, were omitted, meaning that the exhibition presented a spotty picture of Bacon’s works. Room 6, which focuses on where Bacon gets inspiration for his paintings, was a bit of a revelation. Artefacts ranged from images from artists he admired (like Van Gogh) to scribbles on notebooks, and even a bit of photography. Placed in the middle of the exhibition, it breaks up the stream of paintings which may otherwise lead visitors to see Bacon as something of a one-trick pony.

The exhibition is still a good introduction to the artist on show, but someone familiar with his paintings from permanent collections may prefer to take a quick visit to the gift shop instead.

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