History of a beautiful book: Francis Bacon with four hands

April 28, 1992, Francis Bacon died of a heart attack in Madrid.

Stéphane Manel remembers the spark at the origin of this book precisely. In the spring of 2022, the designer visited a Francis Bacon exhibition in London with his partner, the artist Lou Doillon, when he received an e-mail from Franck Maubert offering to create a book together on… Francis Bacon. “An incredible coincidencesmiled Manel. I saw a sign there. » Lou Doillon questions him: “Bacon again, don’t you get tired of it?” » His reply bursts out: ” Never ! »

Over the years, the paths of the two authors had already crossed. Both communed in the same cult of Serge Gainsbourg and the designer Pierre Le-Tan, and followed each other from far to far. A joint book project on Gainsbourg had provided the opportunity for a meeting, before being abandoned. The desire to collaborate remained strong.

When the name Bacon came up, the two men hardly hesitated. In one year, the new accomplices completed a sumptuous book on the immense Irish painter (1909-1992), one of the most tormented and fascinating artists of his time. Their album closely interweaves the life and work of Bacon, the text of Maubert and the drawings of Manel, in a sort of exploded and colorful biography. With a decision as radical as it was fruitful: signing 240 pages on Bacon full of images, but without any reproduction of his paintings.

Ten years of companionship

Franck Maubert knew Bacon well. In 1983, then a critic at The Expressthe journalist decided to devote three pages to the painter based in London. ” Who is that ? », asks the editor-in-chief. Bacon invites Maubert to spend a Saturday, at 7 a.m., in his modest apartment at 7 Reece Mews. It was the beginning of almost ten years of companionship, strewn with interviews, discussions on literature, and meetings at the Hôtel Pont Royal in Paris. “He even took me to gay bars, even though I’m not gayremembers Maubert. At first he scared me a little, but he’s the most amazing character I’ve ever known. »

Before starting this book with four hands, “I tested Stéphane on Bacon”, relates the journalist-writer. Manel flies through the ordeal. “He even knew details of his life that I didn’t know”, admits the examiner. Stéphane Manel has been a fan of Bacon since the age of 15. “I still have at home the poster of his exhibition at the Lelong gallery, in Paris, in 1987he said. Since then, I have become fixated on this painter. I even went from Paris to Monaco by car to discover one of its exhibitions. When he was alive, I ped his house every time I went to London. One day, I thought I saw him from afar. But with the fog… was it him? »

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