Francis Bacon Five Decades
written by Anthony Bond
Art Gallery of NSW | ISBN 9781741740783
Flexi jacket – 256 pages
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Twenty years after the artist’s death, this new publication presents a timely and rich overview of the life and work of Francis Bacon – one of the great artists of the 20th century.
The book will include some 60 paintings as well as photographs, ephemera and archival material largely drawn from the artist’s studio. An introduction and four essays by international experts look at specific aspects of Bacon’s work including the archival material from Bacon’s studio, and his links with Australian artists. The paintings divide into five decades, each defined by influences in his life and motifs which form part of his evolving pictorial language.
The 1940s – looks at the figure studies closely related to Bacon’s famous Three studies for figures at the base of a crucifixion 1944.
The 1950s – where his work is informed by Velasquez and van Gogh, but is also dominated by ambiguous, shadowy figures in sombre tones.
The 1960s and 70s – focus on the portraits and subsequent memorials to Bacon’s lover George Dyer, who died in 1971.
The 1980s – while calmer and more naturalistic, reveal more haunted works which make reference to
classical mythology and epic poetry.