The forthcoming Francis Bacon catalogue raisonné will offer an unprecedented view into his art—and his controversial private life. Bacon’s surviving oeuvre, totalling 584 paintings, is catalogued in 1,538 pages. Less than a third of the pictures are in museums, with most hidden away in anonymous private collections. Thanks to colour reproductions, some available for the first time, it is now possible to clearly see the development of Bacon’s art.
Although the catalogue will not be published until 30 June, it was launched in London’s Soho—the quarter where Bacon drank and felt at home. Martin Harrison, the editor, has devoted 10 years to the project. He travelled endlessly, failing to locate only one painting, Head with Raised Arms (1955), which was last recorded in Turin more than fifty years ago. The catalogue was funded by the Francis Bacon Estate and although the cost is not being disclosed, it probably amounted to several million pounds.