Francis Bacon August 1972 The Lithographs were made after a Triptych of Oil Paintings now owned by the Tate Gallery and purchased in 1980.
This work is generally considered one in a series of Black Triptychs relating to Bacons partner, George Dyer whose figure can be seen here, who committed suicide on 24 October 1971, on the eve of the artist’s retrospective at Paris’ Grand Palais, then the highest honour Bacon had received.
Dyer is shown seated in Bacon’s atelier just as in the well-known photographs by John Deakin. The seated figures and their coupling are set against black voids and the central flurry has been seen as ‘a life-and-death struggle’. The artist’s biographer wrote: ‘What death has not already consumed seeps incontinently out of the figures as their shadows. The black triptychs are so named because of their bleak mood and due to the active role the black paint plays in each. Provenance: Galeria Estiarte, Madrid, Spain.
Francis Bacon was a larger-than-life figure during his lifetime and remains one now more than ever. Famous for keeping a messy studio, and even more so for his controversial, celebrated depictions of papal subjects and bullfights, often told in triptychs, Bacon signified the blinding dawn of the Modern era. His signature blurred portraits weren’t murky enough to stave off his reputation as highly contentious—his paintings were provocations against a social order in the people’s eye. But, Bacon often said, “You can’t be more horrific than life itself.”
Challenging the conventions of Modern art, Bacon was known for his triptychs brutalizing formalist truths, particularly Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion, which Bacon debuted in London in 1944, and Three Studies of Lucian Freud, which became famous when it set the record for most expensive work of art at auction at the time it sold in 2013.
Francis Bacon After Ingres
Francis Bacon THE CATALOGUE RAISONNE