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Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon

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An Irish-born English painter, Francis Bacon was a figurative artist best know for his emotionally raw, bold, and graphic designs. He was a sickly child, with severe asthma, and violent allergic attacks to horses and dogs, the pain of which was often controlled by morphine. There is a story that Bacon’s father, always trying to make him manlier, was going to drag him along with him on a hunting trip, but Bacon was able to get out of the trip by sleeping next to the dog the night before.

Before he began painting, he drifted along with his childhood nanny, who remained his companion until her death, often stealing for food or money, or working small jobs and dodging rent. During this time, he traveled throughout much of Europe, and was exposed to many great works of art, many of which would become important influences in his later works. He did not begin his artistic career until his 20’s when he worked as an interior designer, and furniture and rug artist. He began painting seriously in his 30’s, and in 1944 premiered his breakout work Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion, which sealed his artistic reputation as a bleak artist of the human condition.

During his travels in Paris in 1935, he purchased a book on disease of the mouth at a second hand store. Bacon obsessed over these images, and they haunted his style, influencing many of his works and color palettes. As an artist, he spent time with many friends and acquaintances, eating, drinking, and gambling in London. In 1964, he met the man who would have a major impact on his life, George Dyer.

According to Bacon, he met Dyer as he was attempting to break into his house. They quickly became lovers, and were strangely alike, as they both were borderline alcoholics, and obsessive about their appearances. In Bacon’s painting of the mid-1960’s Dyer is the dominating presence. Unfortunately, their relationship began a tumultuous turn when Dyer’s drinking became a problem, and he became a nuisance to Bacon and his circle of artist friends. Dyer, who felt his influence beginning to slip, tried to get Bacon’s attention by calling the cops on him and attempting suicide a number of times. In October of 1971, the night before Bacon’s exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris, Dyer took an overdose of barbiturates and died. Dyer’s death had a severe impact on Bacon and his art, which became a personal battle, preoccupied with themes of death.

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Francis Bacon (28 October 1909 – 28 April 1992) was an Irish-born British figurative painter known for his bold, grotesque, emotionally charged, raw imagery. He is best known for his depictions of popes, crucifixions and portraits of close friends. His abstracted figures are typically isolated in geometrical cage like spaces, set against flat, nondescript backgrounds. Bacon said that he saw images "in series", and his work typically focuses on a single subject for sustained periods, often in triptych or diptych formats. His output can be broadly described as sequences or variations on a single motif; beginning with the 1930s Picasso-informed Furies, moving on to the 1940s male heads isolated in rooms or geometric structures, the 1950s screaming popes, and the mid-to-late 1950s animals and lone figures, the 1960s portraits of friends, the nihilistic 1970s self-portraits, and the cooler more technical 1980s late works.

Bacon took up painting in his late 30s, having drifted as an interior decorator, bon vivant and gambler. He said that his artistic career was delayed because he spent too long looking for subject matter that could sustain his interest. His breakthrough came with the 1944 triptych Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion, which sealed his reputation as a uniquely bleak chronicler of the human condition. From the mid-1960s he mainly produced portraits of friends and drinking companions, either as single or triptych panels. Following the 1971 suicide of his lover George Dyer, his art became more sombre, inward-looking and preoccupied with the passage of time and death. The climax of this later period is marked by masterpieces, including his 1982's "Study for Self-Portrait" and Study for a Self-Portrait—Triptych, 1985–86.

Despite his bleak existentialist outlook, solidified in the public mind through his articulate and vivid series of interviews with David Sylvester, Bacon in person was highly engaging and charismatic, articulate, well-read and openly gay. He was a prolific artist, but nonetheless spent many of the evenings of his middle age eating, drinking and gambling in London's Soho with like-minded friends such as Lucian Freud (though the two fell out in the mid-1970s, for reasons neither ever explained), John Deakin, Muriel Belcher, Henrietta Moraes, Daniel Farson, Tom Baker, and Jeffrey Bernard.

After Dyer's suicide he largely distanced himself from this circle, and while his social life was still active and his passion for gambling and drinking continued, he settled into a platonic and somewhat fatherly relationship with his eventual heir, John Edwards. The art critic Robert Hughes described him as "the most implacable, lyric artist in late 20th-century England, perhaps in all the world" and along with Willem de Kooning as "the most important painter of the disquieting human figure in the 50's of the 20th century." Francis Bacon was the subject of two Tate retrospectives and a major showing in 1971 at the Grand Palais. Since his death his reputation and market value have grown steadily, and his work is among the most acclaimed, expensive and sought-after. In the late 1990s a number of major works, previously assumed destroyed, including early 1950s popes and 1960s portraits, reemerged to set record prices at auction. In 2013 his Three Studies of Lucian Freud set the world record as the most expensive piece of art sold at auction.

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Artworks of Francis Bacon are removed from WikiArt due to a copyright infringement notice.
Blocked due to a copyright claim
  • Self-Portrait, 1971
  • Study of a Baboon, 1953
  • Man and Child, 1963, 1963
  • Study for Crouching Nude, 1952
  • Study from the Human Body, 1991
  • Study of the Human Body, 1987
  • Self-Portrait, 1987
  • Study from the Human Body, 1986
  • Sand Dune, 1983
  • Study from the Human Body - Figure in Movement, 1982
  • Sand Dune, 1981
  • Carcass of Meat and Bird of Prey, 1980
  • Two Seated Figures, 1979
  • Study for Self-Portrait, 1979
  • Seated Figure, 1979
  • Oedipus, 1979
  • Study for Portrait, 1978
  • Self-Portrait, 1978
  • Painting, 1978
  • Landscape, 1978
  • Seated Figure, 1978
  • Study for Portrait, 1977
  • Seated Figure, 1977
  • Seated Figure, 1974
  • Self-Portrait, 1973
  • Self-Portrait, 1973
  • Figures in Movement, 1973
  • Seated Self-Portrait, 1973
  • Self-Portrait, 1972
  • Study for Bullfight No.1, 1969
  • Second Version of Study for Bullfight No. 1, 1969
  • Study for a Nude with Figure in a Mirror, 1969
  • Lying Figure, 1969
  • Version No. 2 of Lying Figure with Hypodermic Syringe, 1968
  • Portrait of George Dyer Talking, 1966
  • Head III, 1961
  • Crouching Nude, 1961
  • Head of a Woman, 1960
  • Head of a Man - Study of a Drawing by Van Gogh, 1959
  • Figure in a Landscape (Miss Diana Watson), 1957
  • Owls, 1956
  • Man Carrying a Child, 1956
  • Man in Blue II, 1954
  • Two Figures, 1953
  • Study of a Figure in a Landscape, 1952
  • Head, 1951
  • Elephant Fording a River, 1952
  • Study for Portrait of P.L. No.1, 1957
  • Water from a Running Tap, 1982
  • Head III, 1949
  • Study for Self-Portrait, 1982
  • Fury, 1944
  • Study for Self-Portrait, 1981
  • Self-Portrait, 1978
  • Study for Self-Portrait, 1973
  • Self-Portrait II, 1972
  • Self-Portrait I, 1972
  • Self-Portrait, 1972
  • Self-Portrait, 1969
  • Study for a Self-Portrait, 1964
  • Composition (Figure), 1933
  • Study for a Self-Portrait, 1963
  • Self-Portrait, 1958
  • Interior, 1952
  • Study for a Portrait, 1978
  • Portrait of Michel Leris, 1978
  • Portrait of Michel Leris, 1976
  • Three Studies for Portrait of Henrietta Moraes, 1963
  • Bacon Portrait of Man with Glasses III, 1963
  • Study for a Portrait of P.L., 1962
  • Head IV, 1961
  • Woman IV, 1960
  • Head II, 1958
  • Portrait X, 1957
  • Lisa, 1957
  • William Blake, 1955
  • Study Imaginary Portrait of Pope Pius XII, 1955
  • After the life mask of William Blake, 1955
  • Lisa, 1955
  • Drinking, 1955
  • Study for a Portrait of a Man in Blue, 1952
  • Studies from the Human Body, 1975
  • Reclining Woman, 1961
  • Study for a nude, 1951
  • Study from the human body, 1949
  • Oedipus And The Sphinx After Ingres, 1983
  • Sphinx III, 1954
  • A Piece of Waste Land, 1982
  • Study of a Man Talking, 1981
  • Study for Portrait, 1981
  • Study for a Portrait with Bird in Flight, 1980
  • Three Figures, One with Shotgun, 1980
  • Figure Writing Reflected in a mirror, 1976
  • Sleeping Figure, 1974
  • Study for a Portrait, 1970
  • Lying Figure, 1966
  • Lying Figure with Hypodermic Syringe, 1963
  • Seated Figure, 1961
  • Lying figure, 1958
  • Study for Figure II, 1955
  • Untitled, 1954
  • Man in Blue IV, 1954
  • Man in Blue III, 1954
  • Blood on the Floor, 1986
  • Figure in movement, 1985
  • Study for the Human Body, 1983
  • Study from the Human Body, 1981
  • Figures in Movement, 1976
  • Figure at a washbasin, 1976
  • Portrait of a Dwarf, 1975
  • Three Studies from the Human Body, 1967
  • Figure on a folding bed, 1963
  • Figure Turning, 1962
  • Tassels, 1961
  • Figure, 1961
  • Two Figures in the Grass, 1954
  • Man at Curtain, 1949
  • Head IV, 1949
  • Head II, 1949
  • Figure Study II, 1946
  • Figure in a Landscaspe, 1945
  • Figure, 1943
  • Figures in a garden, 1936
  • Figures in a street, 1983
  • Chimpanzee, 1957
  • Painting of a dog, 1952
  • Figures in a Landscape, 1956
  • Two Figures in a Room, 1959
  • Study for Self-Portrait, 1980
  • Sphinx, 1954
  • Reclining Man with Sculpture, 1960
  • Portrait of Jacques Dupin, 1990
  • Lying Figure No.1, 1959
  • Lying Figure in Mirror, 1971
  • Homage to Van Gogh, 1960
  • Figure Seated (the Cardinal), 1955
  • Figure in Open Doorway, 1990
  • Study of the Human Body, 1982
  • Female Nude Standing in Doorway, 1972
  • Chimpanzee, 1955
  • Man with Dog, 1953
  • Walking Figure, 1960
  • Three figures and portrait, 1975
  • After Muybridge - Study of the Human Figure in Motion - Woman Emptying a Bowl of Water and Paralytic Child on all Fours, 1965
  • Gouache, 1929
  • Rug, 1929
  • Rug, 1929
  • Rug, 1929
  • Painted Screen, 1929
  • Portrait, 1930
  • Painting, 1930
  • After Picasso 'LA DANSE', 1933
  • Crucifixion, 1933
  • The Crucifixion, 1933
  • Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion (2nd version), 1944
  • Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion, 1944
  • Painting, 1946
  • Study Figure I, 1946
  • Head I, 1948
  • Study for Portrait, 1949
  • Head VI, 1949
  • Study after Velazquez, 1950
  • Study after Velazquez, 1950
  • Painting (Head of Man), 1950
  • Fragment of a Crucifixion, 1950
  • Painting, 1950
  • Crouching Nude, 1951
  • Figure, 1951
  • Pope III, 1951
  • Pope II, 1951
  • Portrait of Lucian Freud, 1951
  • Study of a Head, 1952
  • Man Kneeling in Grass, 1952
  • Crouching Nude, 1952
  • Dog, 1952
  • Marching Figures, 1952
  • Man in a Chair, 1952
  • Study for Portrait II, 1952
  • Sphinx II, 1952
  • Landscape after Van Gogh, 1952
  • Dog, 1952
  • Study of a Dog, 1952
  • Study for a Portrait, 1953
  • Study for Portrait VII, 1953
  • Study for Portrait I, 1953
  • Three studies of the Human Head, 1953
  • Study for Portrait VIII, 1953
  • Study for Portrait III, 1953
  • Study for Figure in a Room, 1953
  • Study for Portrait V, 1953
  • Study of a Nude, 1953
  • Study for Portrait IV, 1953
  • Study after Velazquez's portrait of Pope Innocent X, 1953
  • Man in Blue I, 1954
  • Figure with Meat, 1954
  • Study for a Head, 1955
  • Study for a Portrait of Van Gogh IV, 1957
  • Study for a Figure IV, 1957
  • Study for a Portrait of Van Gogh II, 1957
  • Study for Portrait of Van Gogh V, 1957
  • Study for Portrait of Van Gogh III, 1957
  • Study for Landscape After Van Gogh, 1957
  • Study for the Nurse in the film 'Battleship Potemkin', 1957
  • Study for a Portrait of Van Gogh, 1957
  • Van Gogh in a Landscape, 1957
  • Miss Muriel Belcher, 1959
  • Sleeping Figure, 1959
  • Study for Head of Isabel Rawsthorne, 1961
  • Study for a Pope VI, 1961
  • Study for a Pope III, 1961
  • Study for a Pope IV, 1961
  • Three Studies for a Crucifixion, 1962
  • Study for Three Heads, 1962
  • Study of Red Pope, 1962
  • Study for a Portrait (looking right), 1962
  • Study for a Portrait (looking left), 1962
  • Figure in a Room, 1962
  • Pope and Chimpanzee, 1962
  • Landscape near Malabata, Tangier, 1963
  • Portrait of Henrietta Moraes, 1963
  • Three Figures in a Room, 1964
  • Study for Portrait of Isabel Rawsthorne, 1964
  • Three Studies for Portrait of George Dyer (on pink ground), 1964
  • Three Studies for Portrait of George Dyer (on light ground), 1964
  • Study for portrait of Henrietta Moraes on a red ground, 1964
  • Double Portrait of Lucian Freud and Frank Auerbach, 1964
  • Study for Portrait of Pope Innocent X, 1965
  • Portrait of Lucian Freud on orange couch, 1965
  • Three Studies for a Portrait of Lucian Freud, 1965
  • Three Studies of Isabel Rawsthorne (on a light background), 1965
  • Portrait of Lucian Freud, 1965
  • Three Studies for Portrait of Isabel Rawsthorne (on a dark background), 1965
  • Crucifixion, 1965
  • Study for the Portrait of Pope Innocent X, 1965
  • Portrait of Isabel Rawsthorne, 1966 www.tate.org.uk
  • Portrait of Isabel Rawsthorne, 1966
  • Three Studies of Isabel Rawsthorne (on a green background), 1966
  • Three Studies for Portraits: Isabel Rawsthorne, Lucian Freud and J.H., 1966
  • Portrait of George Dyer Crouching, 1966
  • Henrietta Moraes, 1966
  • Three Studies of Muriel Belcher, 1966
  • Three studies of George Dyer, 1966
  • Study for Portrait of Lucian Freud, 1966
  • Portrait of George Dyer Riding a Bicycle, 1966
  • Study for Head of Isabel Rawsthorne, 1967
  • Study for Head of George Dyer, 1967
  • Portrait of George Dyer Staring into a Mirror, 1967
  • Study for Head of George Dyer, 1967
  • Three Studies of Isabel Rawsthorne, 1967
  • Portrait of Isabel Rawsthorn standing in a street in soho, 1967
  • Portrait of George Dyer and Lucian Freud, 1967
  • Two Figures Lying on a Bed with Attendants, 1968
  • Three Studies for Portrait of Isabel Rawsthorne, 1968
  • Portrait of George Dyer in a Mirror, 1968
  • Three Studies for a Self-Portrait, 1969
  • Three Studies of Henrietta Moraes, 1969
  • Portrait of Henrietta Moraes (Laughing), 1969
  • Portrait of Henrietta Moraes, 1969
  • Three Studies for Portrait of Henrietta Moraes, 1969
  • Three Studies of Lucian Freud, 1969
  • Triptych - Studies of the Human Body, 1970
  • Triptych - Studies from the Human Body, 1970
  • Self-Portrait, 1970
  • Two Studies for a Self-Portrait, 1970
  • Studies of George Dyer and Isabel Rawsthorne, 1970
  • Painting 1946, Second Version, 1971
  • Study of George Dyer, 1971
  • In Memory of George Dyer, 1971
  • Two Studies for Self-Portrait, 1972
  • Triptych August 1972, 1972
  • Three Studies of Figures on Beds, 1972
  • Triptych, May–June 1973, 1973
  • Three Studies for Self-Portrait, 1973
  • Three Portraits: Posthumous Portrait of George Dyer, Self-portrait, and Portrait of Lucian Freud, 1973
  • Study for the Human Body (Man Turning on the Light), 1974
  • Three Studies for Self-Portrait, 1974
  • Three studies for a portrait of Peter Beard, 1975
  • Three Studies for Self-Portrait, 1976
  • Study for Head of Lucian Freud, 1976
  • Two Studies for Self-Portrait, 1977
  • Three Studies for a Portrait, 1977
  • Triptych May-June 1974, 1977
  • Two Studies for a Portrait of Richard Chopping, 1978
  • Figure in Movement, 1978
  • Jet of Water, 1979
  • Studies From the Human Body: A Triptych, 1979
  • Sphinx-Portrait of Muriel Belcher, 1979
  • Three Studies for a Self-Portrait, 1980
  • Three Studies for a Self-Portrait, 1980
  • Three Studies for a Portrait of Peter Beard, 1980
  • Triptych Inspired by Oresteia of Aeschylus, 1981
  • Three Studies for a Portrait of Mick Jagger, 1982
  • Seated Figure (S. 5), 1983
  • Street Scene (with Car in Distance), 1984
  • Three Studies for a Portrait of John Edwards, 1984
  • Triptych 1983, 1984
  • Diptych: Study from the Human Body - from a Drawing by Ingres, 1984
  • Study for Self-Portrait, 1985
  • Study for a Portrait of John Edwards, 1985
  • Painting, 1985
  • Study for a Portrait of John Edwards, 1986
  • Triptych 1986-1987, 1987
  • Study for a portrait of John Edwards, 1988
  • Study for a Portrait of John Edwards, 1988
  • Study for a portrait of John Edwards, 1989
  • Study for a portrait of John Edwards, 1989
  • Man at a Washbasin, 1990
  • Study from human body, 1992