Francis Bacon Biography | Oil Painting Reproductions
10-28-1909 Dublin, IRL– 4-28-1992 Madrid, ESPBack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Born in Dublin of English parents, Francis Bacon left home at the age of 15, traveling to London, Berlin, and Paris. In Paris, he visited a Picasso exhibition, which inspired him to paint. In 1929, Bacon settled in London, where he designed Bauhaus style furnishings and later, during the Second World War, he joined the Civil Defense. His career began late, during the war years, since the artist himself destroyed almost everything he had produced prior to that time.
Francis Bacon breakthrough as an artist came in 1954 when his Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion caused a sensation at the Lefevre Gallery. In this, as in many of his future works, elements of mutilation, pain, and claustrophobia combined to create a highly disturbing effect.
From 1954 to 1950, the painter resided in Monte Carlo, partly to satisfy his passion for gambling. His international reputation growing, he returned to London.
His source material was very diverse, ranging from the work of other artists like Diego Velazquez and Van Gogh to films and photography from Muybridge and Eisenstein and autobiographical details. In his Study After Velazquez Portrait of Pope Innocent X, his series of eight paintings show the gradual distortion of the original model. The chair has become a cage, imprisoning the figure, whose hands spasmodically grip its arms, his face contorted into a mask of agony and his mouth wide open in a scream worthy of Munch. His derivations of the portrait of Pope Innocent X were executed exclusively from a photograph. He never wanted to see the original in Rome.
"No tension in the painting if there is no struggle with the object"
His studies of caged, screaming figures, for example, are often viewed as a reference to his asthma. Bacon's prevailing theme, however, is the vulnerability and solitude of the human condition. In focusing almost entirely on portraits and the human figure, he took the motifs and models of “classical” painting and re-invented them in the light of the individual and collective tragedies and horrors of the twentieth century. Bacon's subjects, including his model and partner George Dyer, have become the very symbol of the anxiety of modern man, victims of a society that wears him down, tears him apart, and then discards him. Bacon's work can also be interpreted as a form of Romanticism taken to the extreme, in the light of the artist's dramatic personal involvement and uneasy, disturbing contemplation of pain, death and the absolute.
On November 13, 2013, Three Studies of Lucian Freud shown below, sold at Christie's New York for $142.4 million, claiming the record for highest auction price of a work of art, a title previously held by the fourth version of Edvard Munch's The Scream and now held by Willem de Kooning's Interchange.
Art Movement History: Expressionism, School of London.
Artists Influencing Francis Bacon: Vincent Van Gogh, Diego Velazquez, Pablo Picasso, Matthias Gruenwald, Rembrandt.
He Traveled To Germany, France, Monte Carlo, Spain, South Africa.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist.