The first art centre devoted to Francis Bacon is to be set up in Monte Carlo. The Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation has been established by Majid Boustany, a Lebanese-born property developer who is a Swiss national and lives in Monaco.
Boustany first became interested in Bacon while studying in London in the 1990s, when he saw the Tate’s triptych Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion, 1944. He then discovered that Bacon had lived in Monte Carlo in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The artist loved the climate, good food and gambling, and spent a series of winters on the Mediterranean coast.
Boustany’s spokeswoman says that he has been building up a “comprehensive collection” of Bacon’s work in the past few years. He owns paintings from the late 1920s to the early 1980s, as well as rug and furniture designs made by the artist in around 1930, when he earned his living as an interior decorator.
Boustany’s collection also includes graphic works, documents from Bacon’s studios, photographs taken by the artist’s friends and lovers, works by Bacon’s peers and a comprehensive set of exhibition catalogues.
The collector and his brother Fadi acquired a major interest in Monte Carlo’s Hotel Metropole. The Bacon foundation is being established in the Villa Elise, in the Boulevard d’Italie. Martin Harrison, the editor of Bacon’s catalogue raisonné, is on the foundation’s board. The centre will host occasional temporary exhibitions, along with a display on Bacon’s life, focusing on his visits to the Riviera. It will be open to the public by appointment, with a simple booking procedure. The centre is expected to open in September.