Francis Bacon is internationally acknowledged as among the most powerful painters of the twentieth century.
Francis Bacon’s vision of the world was unflinching and entirely individual, encompassing images of sensuality and brutality, both immediate and timeless. When Francis Bacon first emerged to public recognition, in the aftermath of the Second World War, his paintings were greeted with horror. Bacon's vision of the world has had a profound impact and initial shock has since been displaced by a wide appreciation of his ability to expose humanity’s frailties. It is born of a direct engagement that his paintings demand of each of us, so that, as he famously claimed, the ‘paint comes across directly onto the nervous system’.
Francis Bacon’s figurative works are renowned for their bold, austere, graphic and often tortured imagery. His abstract figures typically appear isolated in glass or steel geometrical cages set against flat, nondescript backgrounds.
In 1948 The Hanover Gallery held Francis Bacon’s first one man show, exhibiting his Head series, leading critics to write “Bacon is one of the most powerful artists in Europe today and he is perfectly in tune with his time. “Bacon has proved himself once more to be the most astonishingly sinister artist in England, and one of the most original”.
During the 1960’s, the larger part of Francis Bacon’s work shifted focus to portraits and paintings of his close friends. These works centre on two broad concerns: the portrayal of the human condition and the struggle to reinvent portraiture. Bacon’s approach was to distort appearance in order to reach a deeper truth about his subjects. To this end, Bacon’s models can be seen performing different roles.
With a mixture of contempt and affection, Bacon depicted George Dyer, his lover and most frequent model, as fragile and pathetic. Everyday objects occasionally feature in these works, hollow props for lonely individuals which reinforce the sense of isolation that Bacon associated with the human condition. After The death of his lover George Dyer in 1971 Francis Bacon recorded the event in his Triptych series George Dyer.
Francis bacon often said in interviews that he saw images “in series" and that “he had been very impressed by the work of a photographer who had produced striking effects using mirrors and natural light filtered through screens”.
Francis Bacon’s work has been exhibited all over the world, including the Guggenheim, New York, Grand Palais in Paris and the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Francis Bacon’s most recent retrospective show was held at the Tate Britain, 2008.