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PRINT May 2001

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the Francis Bacon Studio

There are immaculate studios and there are messy studios. There are private ones that are no-go areas for housekeeper and dealer alike. And there are those that show signs not just of working but of living—an easy chair, bookshelves, even a put-up bed. Francis Bacon’s last studio was notoriously messy and pretty private, entered only by close friends and the occasional photographer. It was exclusively for work—a small, skylit, fairly cheerless space within his almost pretentiously modest flat up a steep flight of stairs in South Kensington. Its simplicity stood in marked contrast to earlier studios. In the 1930s, for example, when Bacon was both painter and modernist interior designer, his workspace was all neo-Bauhaus, fitted out with glass, steel, and abstract rugs. Later he lived and worked in the palatial but bomb-damaged studio occupied in the nineteenth century by John

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