First held at the Technical University of Cologne, after my participation in the exhibition ‘Bacon’s Women’ at Ordovas Gallery, New York, this seminar explores the pivotal role women played in Francis Bacon’s painting, his development as a painter and as an inspiration for his work. From female dealers, drinking companions and close female friends, Bacon surrounded himself with strong women— replacements for the mother who had been callously indifferent to her son’s brutal beatings.
Although Francis Bacon’s homosexuality has been widely discussed through his portraits, male nudes and figures on beds that provide great detail about his male companions and his consuming masochistic psyche, far less attention has been paid to the women that played an instrumental role in Bacon’s life and were central to his development, his muses who nurtured, inspired and developed his talents.
One of these was Henrietta Moraes, interviewed in my film ‚Model and Artist; Henrietta Moraes and Francis Bacon’ – Francis Bacon’s most frequent female subject, painted no less than twenty three times. The interviews with Henrietta, filmed at the Marlborough Gallery in London, offer us great insight into the working methods of the painter as well as the nature of his relationships to women.
Surprisingly to many, Bacon painted more female than male nudes and his depiction of women and merging of genders is unique in the canon of male painters of his time.
The film was part of the Francis Bacon Retropectives at the Centre Pompidou Paris, the Haus der Kunst Munich, the exhibition ‘Francis Bacon; The Human Body’ at the Hayward Gallery London and in the exhibition ‚Bacon’s Women’ at Ordovas Gallery, New York- the first exhibition in the United States to focus on Francis Bacon’s female subjects.