The more research I did on Francis Bacon, the more enthralled I became. Always on the lookout for troubled musicians whose drunken rhymes I could live by, I’d never been that passionate about any visual artist. But I have to admit – that guy was just like a rock star, at least if you consider just how emotionally haunting his works could be.
Clearly, I thought, with this kind of artistic sensibility, he must have been to Berlin.
And I was right. What’s interesting, though, and why I decided to write this article, is that Bacon’s Berlin experience was not limited to the times he might have been to our beloved Hauptstadt already as an acclaimed painter. The first time his wild imagination was undeniably stimulated by this promiscuous city took place in 1927, back in the days of the Weimar Republic.
Even at that time, Berlin couldn’t have been mistaken for any other city. The advancement of science, art and design appeared along other phenomenons of the society, and describing them as decadent would be quite merciful. Prostitution was becoming more popular among women and youths of both sexes, and the notorious party supply by the name of cocaine was easy to access.
If anything is still missing from this story of the mystical way Berlin can influence artists, bear in mind that young homosexual Bacon was allegedly sent here by his caring father in order to… become straight.
But Berlin at the time was not the place to oppress anyone’s sexuality. It was home to a pioneer research centre, the Institut fur Sexualwissenschaft. The nightlife was thriving, and especially so, just like today, in clubs like Eldorado, a favorite among the queer crowd. No wonder then that after two months spent in Berlin Bacon’s identity became richer, but its core remained the same.