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Legends Moore and Bacon reunited in museum show
THE Ashmolean Museum will host the first joint exhibition of two of the 20th century’s most well-known modern artists for half a century.
On show will be 20 paintings by Francis Bacon beside 20 sculptures and 20 drawings by Henry Moore.
Called Francis Bacon Henry Moore: Flesh and Bone, it will run from September 12 until January 19, 2014.
Professor Christopher Brown, director of the Ashmolean, said: “This is one of the most ambitious and exciting exhibitions we have mounted since we re-opened in 2009.
“It compares the two greatest British artists of the 20th century, and promises to be both visually thrilling and immensely thought-provoking.”
The works have been borrowed from public and private collections and selected by Martin Harrison, editor of the Francis Bacon catalogue raisonné, and Richard Calvocoressi, director of The Henry Moore Foundation.
Moore and Bacon were both born before the First World War, in which Moore was just old enough to serve in the trenches – an experience that had a profound effect on his work.
Meanwhile Bacon’s consciousness of civil unrest in Ireland, where he spent part of his childhood and youth, introduced him to violence at an early age.
As the war ended, a group exhibition opened at the Lefevre Gallery in London in which Bacon showed his Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion which propelled him into the limelight for the first time. In the same exhibition, Moore showed two sculptures from the 1930s and 14 wartime drawings.
The pair exhibited together on two other occasions in the 1960s but since then their work has not been shown together.
Both Bacon and Moore were inspired by their love of sculpture, especially that of Michelangelo and Rodin. In recognition of this influence, the Beaumont Street museum will be showing work by these two artists from its famous holdings in the first gallery of the exhibition.
- The son of a coal miner, Henry Moore was born in Yorkshire in 1898.
After becoming a teacher, Moore fought in the First World War where he was injured in a gas attack.
When the war ended he became a student at the Leeds School of Art and became a sculptor.
He is best known for his monumental sculptures in marble, wood and bronze, such as Reclining Figure that explore the human form and which are found in many public places globally.
- Francis Bacon was born in Dublin in 1909.
He moved to London and became an interior decorator, painting sporadically until his mid-30s.
His breakthrough work is considered to be Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion in 1944.
Bacon painted grotesquely distorted images of people – although some of his most famous works are inspired by the old masters, such as Head VI, based on Portrait Of Pope Innocent X by Velazquez.
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