Walter and Louise Arensberg established the Francis Bacon Foundation in Los Angeles in 1937. Their intent was to promote "research in history, philosophy, science, literature, and art, with special reference to the life and works of Francis Bacon." Several collateral aspects of Bacon and his age intrigued the Arensbergs, among them alchemy, cryptography, Rosicrucianism, and, inevitably, the Shakespeare-Bacon debate.

Walter Arensberg wrote poetry (he was friendly with Wallace Stevens) but it was as a collector of modern art and sculpture that he became best known. The collection became one of the finest in North America. In 1951 the Arensbergs gave the entire collection, including numerous pre-Columbian sculptures, to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where it became a salient portion of the Museum's holdings. Walter Arensberg was a close friend of Marcel Duchamp — among other interests they shared a fascination with numerology, cryptography, and chess — and acquired the renowned Nude Descending a Staircase (2). Duchamp was himself a trustee of the Francis Bacon Foundation in the early 1950s.

In 1995 the trustees determined that the best permanent home for the nearly 13,000-volume collection of books centering on Sir Francis Bacon was The Huntington Library in San Marino, California. Through funds supplied by the Foundation, The Huntington undertook over several years to catalog and renovate the collection. With the advice and participation of The Huntington, the Foundation continues to contribute funds to augment the original Bacon collection.

The Foundation supports the study of the works and life of Lord Bacon and seeks to encourage scholarship having to do with him, his times, and his influence on chiefly science, law, political theory, and literature. The Foundation does so in part by underwriting lectures and other scholarly activities related to Bacon. More recently the Foundation has focused its support upon schools, colleges, universities, and research institutions in southern California, the intention being to disseminate a knowledge of Lord Bacon and to encourage the advancement of learning in those areas upon which he has had an enduring influence.

Lucas, Horsfall, Murphy, Pindroh
100 Corson St., Pasadena, CA. 91103

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