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Sunday, May 15 • 4:30pm - 5:00pm
(Paintings) The History, Technical Study, and Treatment of Francis Bacon's Painting 1946

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Francis Bacon’s seminal work, Painting 1946, has suffered from inherent material vulnerabilities since it was made in London in early 1946. The painting's condition issues, related to the fragile, faded, and flaking pastel background, have been addressed at least three times since the painting entered MoMA’s collection in 1948. Dissatisfied with the painting’s material issues, Bacon proposed scraping down and repainting the background on two occasions, though the proposals were never realized. In 1971 the painting was treated at MoMA, prior to its travel to Paris for Bacon’s retrospective at the Grand Palais. Though at the time, Bacon viewed the treatment as a magnificent restoration, fifteen years later the extensive areas of retouching had faded substantially. In 2015, the pastel areas were cleaned and consolidated, the faded retouching reduced and redone. The treatment methodology, the impact of the painting’s history and Bacon’s own artistic philosophies as they relate to that methodology, and an interpretation of the painting's compositional development as revealed by x-radiography are discussed here.


Ellen Davis

Conservation Fellow, The Museum of Modern Art
Ellen Davis is currently a Conservation Fellow in Paintings Conservation at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She earned her M.A., C.A.S. in Art Conservation from Buffalo State, S.U.N.Y. in 2015 and her M.A. from Wesleyan University in 2007. Ellen completed her third-year graduate... Read More →
avatar for Chris McGlinchey

Chris McGlinchey

Conservation Scientist, Museum of Modern Art
Chris joined the Museum of Modern Art in 1999 to setup the science section of the conservation department. Prior to that he worked in the paintings conservation department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where he assisted with technical analysis of the collection and the development... Read More →


Lauren Klein

Yale University

Michael Duffy

Conservator, The Museum of Modern Art

Sunday May 15, 2016 4:30pm - 5:00pm EDT
Room 710 A