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Catherine Howe

Courtauld Institute of Art

Project title: Francis Bacon's French Influence(s): From Surrealism to Post-structuralism.

Supervised by Dr Gavin Parkinson.

My thesis examines the importance of the painter Francis Bacon’s influences from French surrealism between the wars to his artistic practice and, in turn, how the adoption and reconsideration of surrealism by post-structuralism means that his works fit between both intellectual movements. Central to this is Bacon’s access to and engagement with such associated artworks and literature as well as the timing of his success in France with the height of post-structuralism. This will engage with and develop upon recent theoretical scholarship that situates his work alongside writings by Georges Bataille and Julia Kristeva and will consider key figures for his reception in France such as Gilles Deleuze and Michel Leiris. My focus will be primarily upon paintings produced from 1965 until his death in 1992.

Research interests

  • Francis Bacon
  • Surrealism
  • Tel Quel
  • Post-structuralism
  • Gilles Deleuze
  • Psychoanalysis

Recent publications

  • ‘Francis Bacon’s Dominant Figure: Recent Theoretical and Archival Grapples’, Art History, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp.587–593, June 2015.


  • Assistant for ‘Lessons in Interpretation’, Second Year Undergraduate course, January – March 2016.