Vienna

“Francis Bacon and the Tradition of Art”

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien

Francis Bacon, the crown jewel of British painting, lived through most of the twentieth century, from 1909 to 1992, earning in a good fifty years of activity a reputation as an existentialist on account of his often horrifying diagnoses of reality. Though the artist feared his work would one day end up in storage, it recently appeared in the hallowed halls of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. One might think this pairing rather surprising for this superrefined museal shrine, where artworks tend to carry an expiration date of around 1800. But with the privatization of the formerly state-run Austrian national museum, the wealthy guardians of its imperial collections now find themselves in a position to outshine poor relations such as the Museum Moderner Kunst.

Inspired by Bacon’s obsessions with various old masters, “Francis Bacon and the Tradition of Art,” curated by Barbara Steffen,

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the March 2004 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.