Contemporary Art

Francis Bacon & Alberto Giacometti at the Fondation Beyeler

By Alex Morrison

Francis Bacon and Alberto Giacometti did not meet until the early 1960s, when the Swiss sculptor was nearing the end of his life. But a new exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler reveals the many creative interests that they shared. Bacon Giacometti presents around 100 thematically arranged works touching on subjects such as the human body, Old Masters, ancient art and the challenge of representing three-dimensional space. Bacon’s animalistic Portrait of Isabel Rawsthorne Standing in a Street in Soho, 1967, and Giacometti’s elegant Head of Isabel, 1937–39, convey the drastically different approach they each took in representing their mutual friend and muse. “Giacometti treated her like an Egyptian goddess, while Bacon paints her as a kind of monster,” says Ulf Küster, who along with Bacon’s friend and biographer Michael Peppiatt and Catherine Grenier, head of the Fondation Giacometti in Paris, is curating the show. Elsewhere, the cage-like structure in Bacon’s frenetic Figure in Movement, 1976, suggests a kinship with Giacometti’s sculpture The Cage, 1950.

Bacon Giacometti, Fondation Beyeler, Basel, 29 April–2 September.

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