Well regarded art dealer, patron and philanthropist, Philip Bacon eschewed a career in the law when he abandoned a combined Arts/Law degree at the University of Queensland in 1968 in order to manage the Grand Central Galleries in Brisbane and Surfers Paradise. He established Philip Bacon Galleries, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane in 1974. In 1978 he became registered as an approved valuer for the Taxation Incentives for the Arts Scheme, now known as the Cultural Gifts Program, joining the Australian Commercial Galleries Association the following year.
The late1980s saw Bacon as Art Consultant to Expo 1988 and an adviser to the Estate of Lady Trout. In 1990, he was made a consultant and adviser to the Margaret Olley Art Trust, and is now a Trustee. In 1994 he became a member of the Advisory Council, Griffith University — Queensland College of Art. From 1995 to 1996, Bacon was an adviser to the Trustees and Executors of the Johnstone Gallery Estate. Bacon become a Board member of the Brisbane Biennial International Music Festival in 1996, in 1998 he was made a Board member of the Brisbane Festival and placed on the Council of Advice for the Australian Chamber Orchestra. The following year saw Bacon as a board member of the Brisbane Institute and a member of the Advisory Council, Griffith University, Queensland Conservatorium.
In 1994 Bacon became a member of the Board of Opera Australia, a position he held till 2010. He was a member of the Council of the National Gallery of Australia from 1996 to 2003 and has been a Trustee of the Gordon Darling Foundation since 2000. He is a Founder / Benefactor of the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation and Perpetual Donor and member of the Board of the Foundation of the National Gallery of Australia, and the Board of The Opera Australia Capital Fund.
Bacon was made a Member, Order of Australia in 1999 receiving in the same year a Doctor of Philosophy (honoris causa) from the University of Queensland. In 2002 Bacon received a Doctor of the University from Griffith University, and Doctor of the University from Queensland University of Technology in 2005. In 2009 he was named a ‘Queensland Great’, and also was announced as AbaF Goldman Sachs Philanthropist of the year. In 2012 he was appointed as a Trustee of the Board of the Queensland Art Gallery, and in 2013 a member of the Arts Investment Advisory Board.
He was named by The Australian as one of the fifty most influential people in the arts in Australia, 2012.