The materials and techniques used in the paintings of Francis Bacon (1909-1992)

Russell, Joanna, Singer, Brian, Perry, Justin and Bacon, Anne (2012) The materials and techniques used in the paintings of Francis Bacon (1909-1992). Studies in Conservation, 57 (4). pp. 207-217. ISSN 0039-3630

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Materials from 38 paintings by Francis Bacon (1909‐1992), including 21 complete works and 17 partially destroyed canvases are investigated. Observations are made of the artist's technique and details are compiled of the supports used. Samples of paint and priming were taken for analysis using polarized light microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), gas chromatography‐mass spectrometry (GC‐MS), pyrolysis‐GC‐MS (Py‐GC‐MS), and scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive X-ray analysis (SEM‐EDX). Analysis of priming layers appears to show that the priming composition correlates well with particular ranges of dates. A fairly limited range of materials are found, with many of the same pigments found in works spanning Bacon's career, though other pigments were introduced at different stages in his career. Oil paints were used consistently for the painting of figures, but household paints were increasingly used in backgrounds from the 1960s onwards. A variety of different synthetic media are found in later works, including household acrylic paints and spray paints. Increased knowledge of Bacon’s materials is expected to be of great value to conservators caring for the work of this highly significant artist, and is already helping in the authentication of works attributed to him.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Artists’ materials and techniques, FTIR, Francis Bacon, PLM, paintings analysis, pigments, Py‐GC‐MS, SEM‐EDX
Subjects: F100 Chemistry
W100 Fine Art
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Applied Sciences
Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Arts
Depositing User: Ellen Cole
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2013 14:10
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2019 18:27

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