School of Arts



The art of Francis Bacon has been a major research focus in recent years. My book Francis Bacon and Nazi Propaganda presents the artist as more engaged with the wider world than is usually acknowledged, seeking in his work to articulate what it felt like to witness the rise of Fascism in the 1930s, and then then the horrifying violence and the self-destruction that ensued when the Nazi craving for power turned into the pursuit of military conquest and the Final Solution.
I am fascinated by the very distinctive way in which Bacon assimilated and transformed to his own pictorial and expressive ends ideas derived from many kinds of photographs, as well as the work of other artists. Generally, I think art historians pay insufficient attention to the stimulation artists constantly derive from past and present practitioners, as a form of creative research comparable to the way writers bounce off their reading, or composers off listening to music. The crude and seemingly pejorative notion of ‘influence’ gets in the way of attending to the operations of this kind of visual intelligence within creativity.
Given this commitment to looking, in art history as well as art practice, I greatly value my association with the Tate. I have served as a member of the Tate Britain Council, gave the Rothenstein lecture last year on Bacon and Degas, work closely with Tate Research and Archive, and published my Bacon book with the museum.
An emerging research interest is Transatlantic cultural exchange, in particular the complex interchange between the UK and the USA during the 1960s. I arrived in Canterbury in September 2012, having been based for some years at the University of Edinburgh, and since then have been working with colleagues in film, literature and architecture to develop a major interdisciplinary project in this field. The art of David Hockney in the Sixties is one focus of forthcoming publications and lectures.   
I would welcome approaches from potential PhD students about working on Bacon, and on British Modernism generally, with special reference to the transatlantic dimension.

back to top


Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Hammer, M. and Thomas, B. (2015). My Generation: A Festival of British Art in the 1960s. GB: University of Kent at Canterbury.
Hammer, M. (2012). Francis Bacon and Nazi Propaganda. Tate Publishing.
Hammer, M. (2007). The Naked Portrait 1900 to 2007. Edinburgh, UK: National Galleries of Scotland.
Hammer, M. (2005). Bacon and Sutherland : Patterns of Affinity in British Culture of the 1940s. Yale University Press.
Hammer, M. (2005). Graham Sutherland: Landscapes, War Scenes, Portraits 1924-1950. Scala.
Hammer, M. and Lodder, C. (2000). Gabo on Gabo: Texts and Interviews. Artists Bookworks, Forest Row.
Hammer, M. and Lodder, C. (2000). Constructing Modernity: the Art and Career of Naum Gabo. Yale University Press.
Book section
Hammer, M. (2017). Hockney as Philosophical Painter. in: Stephens, C. and Wilson, A. eds. David Hockney. London, UK: Tate Publishing, pp. 208-213.
Hammer, M. (2016). Introduction. in: Currie, K. and Hammer, M. eds. Ken Currie: Tragic Forms. Flowers Gallery, London. Available at:
Hammer, M. (2014). The Growth and Form of Artistic Responses to D'Arcy Thompson. in: D'Arcy Thompson's On Growth and Form. Leeds: Henry Moore Institute, pp. 14-29. Available at:
Hammer, M. (2012). Continuity and Contradiction in the Art of Francis Bacon. in: Arya, R. ed. Francis Bacon: Critical and Theoretical Perspectives. Pater Lang, pp. 121-168.
Hammer, M. (2012). Francis Bacon: Painting after Photography. in: British Art in the Cultural Field, 1939-69. Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 156-173.
Hammer, M. (2009). Clearing away the Screens. in: Francis Bacon: Portraits and Heads. Edinburgh, UK: National Galleries of Scotland. Available at:
Hammer, M. (2006). Clearing away the screens. in: Francis Bacon: Heads and Portraits. Edinburgh: National Galleries of Scotland, pp. 14-27.
Hammer, M. and Lodder, C. (2004). Dematerialising Sculpture: Methods and Motives. in: Barassi, S. ed. Immaterial: Brancusi,Gabo,Moholy-Nagy. Kettle's Yard, Cambridge. Available at:
Hammer, M. (1999). The Irony of Egotism. in: John Coplans: A Self-Portrait 1984-99. Edinburgh: Dean Gallery, pp. 5-14.
Hammer, M. (2017). The photographic source and artistic affinities of David Hockney's 'A bigger splash'. Burlington Magazine [Online] 159:386-393. Available at:
Hammer, M. (2017). David Hockney's Early Etchings: Going Transatlantic and Being British. Tate Pepers [Online]. Available at:
Hammer, M. (2017). Between a Rock and a Blue Chair: David Hockney's Rocky Mountains and Tired Indians (1965). British Art Studies [Online]. Available at:
Hammer, M. (2015). Ambivalence and Ambiguity: David Sylvester on Henry Moore. 2015 [web site]. Available at:
Hammer, M. (2015). There is no such thing as British Art. British Art Studies [web site]. Available at:
Hammer, M. (2014). The Independent Group take on Francis Bacon. Visual Culture in Britain [Online] 15:69-89. Available at:
Hammer, M. (2013). Mainly Nourishment: Echoes of Sickert in the Work of Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud. Visual Culture in Britain [Online] 14:87-100. Available at:
Hammer, M. (2013). Kenneth Clark and the Death of Painting. Tate Papers [web site]. Available at:
Hammer, M. (2012). Francis Bacon: Back to Degas. Tate Papers [Article]. Available at:
Hammer, M. (2012). 'After Camden Town: Sickert's Legacy since 1930'. The Camden Town Group in Context [Article]. Available at:
Hammer, M. (2010). Francis Bacon and the Lefevre Gallery. Burlington Magazine 152:307-312.
Hammer, M. (2010). Found in Translation: Chaim Soutine and English Art. Modernist Cultures [Online] 5:218-242. Available at:
Hammer, M. and Stephens, C. (2009). Seeing the story of one's time: appropriations from Nazi photography in the work of Francis Bacon. Visual Culture in Britain [Online] 10:315-351. Available at:
Show / exhibition
Hammer, M. (2015). My Generation: A Festival of British Art in the 1960s. [exhibitions].
Hammer, M. (2007). The Naked Portrait. [exhibition].
Hammer, M. (2005). Graham Sutherland. [exhibition].
Hammer, M. (2016). Frank Auerbach. The Burlington Magazine CLVIII:214-215.
Hammer, M. (2010). Francis Bacon. Dublin and Compton Verney (exhibition review). Burlington Magazine [Online] 152:59-61. Available at:
Conference or workshop item
Hammer, M. (2017). Photographic sources and affinities in David Hockey's art of the 1960s. in: A Bigger Picture: New Approaches to David Hockney - Tate Britain and the Paul Mellon Centre.. Available at:
Hammer, M. (2016). Crossing the border and closing the gap: David Hockney and abstraction. in: Generation Painting: Abstraction and British Art, 1955–65.. Available at:
Hammer, M. (2016). Food for Artists: the exhibition as resource. in: Exhibiting Contemporary Art in Post-War Britain.
Hammer, M. (2016). Making transatlantic sense of Hockney's A Rake's Progress. in: History of Art department research seminar, University of York.
Hammer, M. (2015). 1965; Culture and Sculpture in Britain. in: Sculpture: 1965.
Hammer, M. (2015). Francis Bacon's 'Crucifixion': The presence of the Nazi past.
Hammer, M. (2015). David Hockney's Tired Indians and Rocky Mountains.
Hammer, M. (2015). The Silent Kingdom of Panting: Sickert and Hopper. in: Walter Sickert: The Document and the Documentary.
Total publications in KAR: 42 [See all in KAR]

back to top


I have taught many areas of British and International modernism, and feel that both I and my students benefit when course work is closely aligned to current research projects.  Recent and current modules have focussed on the art of Francis Bacon and on artistic exchange between the UK and the USA.  I also convene the Introduction to Art History module and the course on images of the body taught in our Kent in Paris MA programme.


back to top


Having recently completed a series of publications centred on the art of Francis Bacon, I am now moving on to new projects.  My main focus is a collaboration with colleagues at Kent and elsewhere, working in film, literature, music, architecture and popular culture as well as on artistic developments, which addresses the theme of Transatlantic artistic relations since the Second World War, a period when Britain and the USA had a multitude of cultural, economic and political ties, and travel across the Atlantic became quick and cheap. There is great scope for considering in detail and depth how artists, critics, galleries and collectors responded to the other culture, with varying degrees of enthusiasm and antipathy, and conditioned by the mental and visual baggage they took with them.  The art of David Hockney in the 1960s is proving a wonderful case study for exploring such issues.

back to top


Having supervised several PhDs to completion, I would welcome approaches and applications in the areas of British and International art in the mid-20th century.

Since September 2012 I have been supervising James Finch's PhD on the art writing of the British art critic David Sylvester, under the terms of an AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (co-supervisor: Dr Jennifer Mundy of Tate Research)

back to top

School of Arts - © University of Kent

Jarman Building, The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7UG, T: +44 (0)1227 764000

Last Updated: 05/09/2016