Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Drawings 'attributed' to Francis Bacon (UPDATE).

I received an interesting comment on a post I made back in 2010 (Drawings 'attributed' to Francis Bacon) when I was in Berlin (not sure about his statement equating illustration with a 'literal likeness', though). The large pastels currently being offered in London look pretty bad, but were not part of the show I saw. Bacon really attacked the surface of the canvas with his brushes and I don't think it's a leap to see a similarity in some of the sweeping graphite gestures in the drawings.

From :- Alexander Verney-Elliott April 27, 2016 at 9:55 PM

"Martin Harrison is absolutely correct in stating that the 600 drawings owned by Cristiano Lovatelli Ravarino are not by Francis Bacon. I visited Bacon at his Reece Mews studio in 1981 and I asked him if he ever considered using charcoal for portraiture since this
coarse and grainy rugged-textured medium can produce the very 'non-illustrational' free-marks that Bacon often achieved from oil paint.

Bacon always wanted to get away from what he called 'illustration' (a literal likeness) and with charcoal one can make 'non-illustrational' marks that form facial features without having to literally 'draw' them in. Charcoal would have been the ideal medium Bacon would have used had he wanted to make 'complete' (not sketched) artworks (portraits), and not pencil.

I asked Bacon if he ever used pencil to make portraits with and he said no, and he told me that he did not like the pencil drawings of Lucian Freud saying that they were far too 'refined' and 'detailed'.

Drawing in pencil is antithetical to the ethos of anti-illustration that Bacon aimed at. The Cristiano Lovatelli Ravarino drawings have eyes that are far too literal, far too 'illustrational', to be by Bacon.

The crude and garish bright colour schemes used in these 'Italian drawings' are reminiscent of pop art that are not used by Bacon. Why would Bacon - who was into 'chance' making 'arbitrary' and 'irrational' marks, use such a 'graphic fine art' medium such as pencil? Bacon used to throw paint at the canvas; but one cannot throw pencil at a piece of paper! The Francis Bacon Estate is right to reject these drawings as not made by the hand of Bacon".
Art Newspaper StoryUnauthenticated Francis Bacon works go on sale in London

The Herrick Gallery


  1. In response to your reply to my post on Francis Bacon where you stated: "...not sure about his statement equating illustration with a 'literal likeness'..."

    To quote Bacon himself: "An illustrational form tells you through the intelligence immediately what the form is about, whereas a non-illustrational form works first upon sensation and then slowly leaks back into the fact... A picture should be the recreation of an event, rather than an illustration of an object.... The mystery lies in the irrationality by which you make appearance – if it is not irrational, you make illustration." Illustration is a rational literal likeness like one finds in photo-realism where there in no re-invention of what we assume reality is. Bacon (and Picasso0 re-invented realism outside of inane illustration. Bacon used chance, accident and subconscious irrational-arbitrary marks to paint outside illustration which is the well-known of the conscious-rational.

  2. And Francis Bacon again: "I don't want literal realism, illustration. To create realism without falling into illustration you have to invent a technique."

    I am currently drawing charcoal self-portraits without 'illustrating' the facial features by using the eraser to make arbitrary non-rational marks to make the facial features without 'literall'y putting them in as a negative positivty, or, in the words of Freudian Mark Cousins on Leroux's novel, The Phantom of The Opera: "The eyes that are not there are a horrible thing to look at."

    It is a real struggle knowing-without-knowing what marks to keep since it is a subconscious way of working where one does not know what one is doing consciously and so it is almost impossible to do. Jenny Saville cannot paint outside of illustration and no one who enters the BP Portrait Award can paint outside of illustration.

  3. To reiterate yet again: The Cristiano Lovatelli Ravarino drawings absurdly attributed to Francis Bacon are very crude fakes. If you just take a look at the eyes in these child-like fake drawings you will see that the eyes are 'illustrated' (empirically and literally) drawn-in. It would have been far more logical for Bacon to have used a much more fluid and chance-driven medium such as charcoal where one can make arbitrary accidental marks that are eyes without being literally illustrated.

    I am perplexed that the 'art historian' Edward Lucie-Smith described these overtly fake drawings as "complete works" by Bacon. Has Lucis-Smith 'literally' sold his soul to Cristiano Locatelli Ravarino? Privately Lucis-Smith knows very well that these fraudulent drawings are not by Bacon.