Secret tape: UK’s Francis Bacon had Spanish muse

Taped conversations have revealed that Francis Bacon gave $4 million (€3 million) as a gift to Madrid-based banker Jose Capelo, 40 years his junior, who appeared in two of the artist's paintings, after falling in love with him.

Secret tape: UK's Francis Bacon had Spanish muse
Capelo was featured in Bacon's '1991 Triptych', which hangs in the New York Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Flickr/olofw

Bacon, who died in 1992, aged 82, explained the gift in a recorded conversation with his friend Barry Joule.

UK newspaper The Sunday Times reported that Joule complied with Bacon's wish that the recordings should remain private for 12 years after his death.

Bacon reportedly met Capelo in 1988 when the banker was in his early thirties and the painter was 78.

"One has to think it's so abnormal of somebody of 35 like Jose having an affair with me. Do you see? I'm 40 years older than him," Bacon can be heard saying on the tape.

Capelo became a muse for Bacon, appearing in his famous 'Triptych 1991', which is on display at the New York Museum of Modern Art.

Another work, 'Portrait Of Jose Capelo'  was put up for sale last year by a gallery in Switzerland.

In the conversation with Joule, Bacon refers to his sister, and says, “You see, I gave her exactly the same amount as I gave Jose.”

He adds: “Four million dollars. That’s over two million pounds, you know.”

It was apparently a decision that the artist had come to regret.

“I often think how stupid, what a fool I was to have done it,” he is heard saying. “And then I suddenly think, ‘Oh well, there it is, it is done’.”

Bacon's painting 'Three Studies of Of Lucien Freud' sold at auction last year for a record £86.6million.

Joule says that he will give the tapes to London's Tate Gallery to join the collection of  1,200 of Bacon's sketches that he has previously donated.

Capelo denied the veracity of the conversations but would not say specifically what he felt was untrue.

"I am not going to comment on what Mr Joule claims or says. I don't have that much respect for his opinion and his approach and his views," he told reporters.

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Banksy show opens in Madrid without artist’s consent

Infamous and wanted British artist Banksy has been 'Banksied' in the Spanish capital, where a show of the world's most famous street artist opened on Thursday, albeit without the artist's approval.

Banksy show opens in Madrid without artist's consent
An image from the same Banksy exhibition in Moscow this year. Photo: Yuri Kadobnow/AFP.

The guerilla artist who puts up his work in public spaces without asking authorisation is the subject of a new show in Madrid featuring his works – without his authorisation. 

“Genius or Vandal?” opened Thursday at the Ifema centre in the Spanish capital and will run until March 10. It has already pulled in half a million visitors at its previous venues Moscow and Saint Petersburg, according to a statement from the organisers.

The show's curator Alexander Nachkebiya, who assembled the works from private collectors, describes Banksy as “a phenomenon and one of the most brilliant and important artist of our epoch”.

The street artist himself remains something of an enigma. All he has revealed about himself is that he is British and that his home town is Bristol in southeast England.

But the dark wit of his art and a certain talent for self-promotion has helped him build up an international reputation, to the point that his works have fetched more than a million pounds. 

READ ALSO: Could a mural in Galicia be the first Banksy artwork in Spain?

In August, Banksy used his Instagram account – 5.1 million followers – to make his position clear on the original Moscow show.

He posted an exchange of messages between him and a follower who tipped him off to the unauthorised exhibition.

Banksy not amused

Told they were charging a £20 ($25, €22 ) entrance free, Bansky replied: “I wish I could find it funny. What's the opposite of LOL?”






A post shared by Banksy (@banksy) on Aug 15, 2018 at 9:00am PDT

But at the suggestion that he put out a statement denouncing the fact that it was made to look like an official show, he replied: “…not sure I'm the best person to complain about people putting up pictures without getting permission.”

Nevertheless, his website does carry a message warning visitors about this and other shows. “They've been organised entirely without the artist's knowledge or involvement. Please treat them accordingly.” In the meantime, his subversive style continues to attract admirers.

His most recent stunt was at the October auction of one of his works, “Girl with Balloon”, at Sotheby's in London. Moments after it sold for £1,042,000 – a joint record for the maverick artist – it unexpectedly passed through a shredder hidden in the frame.

Only partially destroyed, the buyer went through with the purchase and some art experts said it was probably now worth more than it had been before the stunt.

READ MORE: Mural of Spanish police officers snogging 'not a Banksy' after all