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November 14, 2005

'The sitter is someone of flesh and blood and what has to be caught is their emanation' — Francis Bacon


The British artist created work that rarely fails to elicit strong emotion.

In many people it is one of disgust at the tortured, seemingly mutilated and deformed figures in his paintings.

Bacon was all too aware of the effect of his work on others.


Matthew Creasy, in a story about the artist that appeared in the Financial Times, wrote, "Aware of the potential for upset, Bacon spoke of the 'damage' and 'injury' he did to friends in his work. Rather than confront their reactions in person, he chose to work from photographs, explaining, 'I would rather practice the injury in private by which I think I can record the fact of them more clearly."

He believed his methods were more faithful to his subjects than conventional portraits.


Bacon said, "I'm always hoping to deform people into appearance; I can't paint them literally."

He commissioned John Deakin to take photographs of his friends in specific poses with their portraits in mind.

Bacon was among the most self–destructive of artists, both in regard to himself and his work.


He repeatedly worked and reworked his paintings and never hesitated to destroy those which didn't please him.

November 14, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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I would forgive him, as a friend, and send my photo willingly only because he submitted himself to the same level of scrutiny - and deform-ation. (The second picture is a self-portrait.)

Posted by: Shawn Lea | Nov 14, 2005 5:18:49 PM

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