Francis Bacon, Karl Lagerfeld, and the importance of living space

Francis Bacon is one of my favourite painters. One thing I have always been interested in is his studio. There’s a good article at the Guardian about how Francis Bacon’s studio reveals about his art (guardian.co.uk). For example,

“Chris Stephens, co-curator of the Tate’s major retrospective this month, remembers Bacon’s doctor once telling him that sometime in the 80s, by which time Bacon had been famous and wealthy for a good few years, he bought a flat around the corner. He wanted “to live more comfortably”, he tells me, “but he just couldn’t bear it – he just ended going back to the one room flat with a kitchen.” “

It reminded me of an article I read and posted on concerning Karl Lagerfeld

“Perhaps the most revealing index to Lagerfeld’s creative mind—to his insistence on keeping history alive even as he professes the need to forget it—was a room on the first floor at the end of a crooked hallway, which he saved for the end of his house tour. Here, Lagerfeld had reassembled his childhood bedroom, using the furniture and art that he had as a seven-year-old in Germany. Hanging on a wall just outside the bedroom was an oil painting that his mother gave to him when he was a boy, depicting Voltaire meeting Frederick the Great of Prussia: a group of eighteenth-century courtiers in velvet coats and powdered periwigs. “This is how I dreamed life should be,” Lagerfeld said. “Can you imagine—at seven?” “

Lagerfeld could have and did live grandly, but settled back into a room he had thought about as a child. Bacon was also highly influenced by his living conditions as a child. They seem to have been locked in these rooms, mentally if not physically. Perhaps locked is too strong a word; they seem to inhabit the same rooms they lived in as a child, regardless of where they physically lived.

 

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