Francis Bacon (1909, Dublin - 1992, Madrid) Bacon, one of the greatest painters of the twentieth century, remained devoted to figuration and portraiture throughout his career. In his art, modernity and tradition converge. His ectoplasmic figures and faces strain like savage forces of nature against shallow fields of intense color and the sketchy armatures that bind them back to the picture plane. In his gut-wrenching serialization of the human body and its sensations, he showed himself to be the unflinching witness of the hysterical reality of the body and the primal fear of those who inhabit it. Although Bacon's aggressive deformations suggest an intense level of existential alienation, he was actually intimately connected to most of the people that surrounded him, among them his lover George Dyer, Henrietta Moraes, who owned the Colony Club, Bacon's favorite drinking spot, and Isabel Rawsthorne, the renowned artist's muse. He often painted his subjects at a remove, from photographs, although the resulting portraits are far from being objective or idealized images.
Francis Bacon is considered one of Britain's major painters of the post-WWII generation, as well as an important influence on a new generation of figurative artists in the 1980s. His work is owned by major museums around the world, and he has been the subject of several retrospective exhibitions. His studio was acquired by the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin, where it has been recreated as a room for visitors to view. Bacon's "Three Studies of Lucian Freud" broke the record for the most expensive work ever sold at auction in 2013, when it was purchased for a final price of $142.4 million at Christie's in New York.
Since his death in 1992, his work has continued to grow in popularity, and has been featured in exhibitions at the Tate Gallery in London, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., the Stedelijik Museum in Amsterdam, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York, among many other institutions.
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