The Art Gallery of Ontario is presenting Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty from April 5 to July 20, 2014. The show features more than 130 artworks to examine how the trauma and isolation of the Second World War contributed to these two British artists’ work.
Torontonians have been surrounded by Moore since the installation of The Archer at City Hall in 1966.
James Beechey’s excellent Picasso & Modern British Art shows how numerous British artists, including Moore and Bacon, took aspects of Picasso's work in radically different directions.
Moore’s sculpture was monumental. Bacon’s paintings looked traumatized. Moore's work is usually dark bronze or pale bone white. Bacon used peaches, blood reds and mud browns for his figures, disconcertingly played against bright candy pinks and burnt oranges. Marina Vaizey writing in the Guardian, offers some more intriguing side by side contrasts.
Mary Moore, makes a very eloquent case for her father's work in a recent feature in the Toronto Star. A brief glance at just some of the many titles Toronto Public Library has available underlines just how prolific and varied Moore's output is.
But Moore’s reputation has taken some blows over the years. In his Infestation Piece (Musselled Moore) Simon Starling sank a reproduction of a Moore sculpture in Toronto Harbor, to give it a pseudo-ancient patina of lichen and zebra muscles. Opinions were sharply divided, even within the same paper, when Moore and Bacon were paired in an earlier version of this show at the University of Oxford.
The library's books on Bacon includes a fifty year retrospective, extensive interviews, critical essays and a catalogue of his source materials:
In addition, Bacon has inspired some truly remarkable film work. DV8 Physical Theatre's "Dead Dreams of Monochrome Men" uses motifs from his paintings to depict extremes of emotional dependency. "Love is the Devil", staring Derek Jacobi and a young Daniel Craig is a very dark skewering of Bacon's public persona.
Terror and Beauty offers a unique opportuity to see two very important British artist side by side: