Cult Rooms: Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon harvested his master works from the chaotic “compost” of his West London studio.

When the Irish-born artist Francis Bacon settled in London in the late 1920s, he was known not as a painter but as an interior designer. The Studio magazine described the 20-year-old transplant as “a young English decorator who has worked in Paris and in Germany for some years and is now established in London.” An accompanying photo spread featured designs that exuded the clean, minimalist style that was popular at the time and which would become a recurring motif throughout his painting oeuvre. The spare aesthetic stands in marked contrast, however, to the self-described chaos which defined Bacon’s longtime studio at 7 Reece Mews in South Kensington that he occupied from 1961 until his death in 1992. A few years later, the studio was painstakingly cataloged before being moved in ...

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