"I believe in deeply ordered chaos": First Edition of Francis Bacon; Inscribed by Him

  • Francis Bacon.
  • Francis Bacon.
  • Francis Bacon.
  • Francis Bacon.

Francis Bacon.

$2,500.00

Item Number: 102743

London: Methuen, 1964.

First edition of this wonderfully illustrated work on Francis Bacon. Octavo, original boards, illustrated throughout. Presentation copy, boldly inscribed on the front free endpaper, “For George with all best wishes Francis Bacon.” Fine in a near fine dust jacket. Jacket photograph of Bacon on the front panel by Cecil Beaton.

Francis Bacon was a figurative painter known for his emotionally charged raw imagery and fixation on personal motifs. Best known for his depictions of popes, crucifixions and portraits of close friends, his abstracted figures are typically isolated in geometrical cages which give them vague 3D depth, set against flat, nondescript backgrounds. Bacon said that he saw images "in series", and his work, which numbers c. 590 extant paintings along with many others he destroyed, typically focuses on a single subject for sustained periods, often in triptych or diptych formats. His output can be broadly described as sequences or variations on single motifs; including the 1930s Picasso-influenced bio-morphs and Furies, the 1940s male heads isolated in rooms or geometric structures, the 1950s screaming popes, the mid-to-late 1950s animals and lone figures, the early 1960s crucifixions, the mid to late 1960s portraits of friends, the 1970s self-portraits, and the cooler more technical 1980s paintings. Bacon took up painting in his twenties, having drifted in the late 1920s and early 1930s as an interior decorator, bon vivant and gambler. He said that his artistic career was delayed because he spent too long looking for subject matter that could sustain his interest. His breakthrough came with the 1944 triptych Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion, which sealed his reputation as a uniquely bleak chronicler of the human condition. From the mid-1960s he mainly produced portraits of friends and drinking companions, either as single or triptych panels. Following the suicide of his lover George Dyer in 1971 his art became more sombre, inward-looking and preoccupied with the passage of time and death. The climax of this later period is marked by masterpieces, including his 1982's "Study for Self-Portrait" and Study for a Self-Portrait—Triptych, 1985–86.

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