Francis Baconís 7 Reece Mews studio reconstructed at the Hugh Lane Gallery is the definitive archive of one of the finest figurative artists ever and one of the greatest European painters of the twentieth century. The database of over 7000 items is the most detailed and technically advanced archive of any artistís studio in the world.
Donated by Baconís heir John Edwards, the reconstructed studio was formally opened by The Rt. Hon The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Ald Maurice Ahern on 23 May 2001. This remarkable cultural donation is the most important received by the Gallery since it was established by Sir Hugh Lane in 1908 said the Lord Mayor, Ald. Maurice Ahern.
Francis Bacon (1909-1992) was born in Dublin and is celebrated as one of the most important artists of the 20th century. 7 Reece Mews in South Kensington, London was the artistís home and legendary working space for the last thirty years of his life and it was here that Bacon produced some of his best work.
The Hugh Lane has now reconstructed the studio in Dublin in new spaces designed by leading British architect David Chipperfield. The studio is supported by an Audio Visual room, an Exhibition Gallery and a Micro Gallery.
This exceptional and undisputed archive of Francis Bacon comprises over 7000 items including 80 works on paper, approximately 1,500 photographs by John Deakin, Peter Beard and Henri Cartier-Bresson among others, books and slashed canvases.
This archival material has been entered on a specially designed database. The Micro Gallery provides the visitor unique access to highlights of this archive. In the Exhibition Gallery a remarkable exhibition of unfinished paintings will accompany the launch of the studio. Their unfinished state provides a singular insight into the artistís process and technique.
The Hugh Lane Gallery appointed a team of archaeologists and conservators to painstakingly catalogue and remove the entire studio contents. The reconstructed studio features the original walls, floor, ceiling and shelves as well as the famous wooden staircase. ĎThe acquisition of Francis Baconís studio was a great coup and its retrieval and documentation has confirmed our suspicions Ė we have the definitive archive on Francis Bacon. The Galleryís innovative approach to retrieving and documenting the contents has resulted in a database of information which will be crucial in critical analysis of Francis Baconís work.í says Barbara Dawson, Director of the Hugh Lane Gallery.
7 Reece Mews: Francis Baconís Studio with photographs by Perry Ogden and with foreword by John Edwards, was also launched by the Lord Mayor the same evening. Published by Thames and Hudson the book features Perry Ogdenís extraordinary photographs of the studio and living space at 7 Reece Mews, taken before the studio was dismantled by the Hugh Lane Gallery. These photographs will go on exhibition at the Gallery until 28 October 2001.
Minister Seamas Brennan T.D., Chairman of the National Millennium Committee said : We are witnessing the culmination of a truly remarkable achievement. Relocating the actual Bacon Studio in Dublin, and the cataloguing for a database of the more than 7,000 items it contained, posed an unprecedented challenge. The success with which Barbara Dawson, Director of the Hugh Lane Gallery and her staff met that challenge is reflected in this wonderful facility that is destined to become one of the most exciting visual art attractions in Europe. It will also underpin Dublinís reputation as a European capital for culture, most notably the visual arts and literature.
A number of remarkable paintings by Francis Bacon from the 1950ís are also on show in the Gallery. These works, which include Study After Velazquez 1950, are on loan from the Estate of Francis Bacon.