". . . . This tale of life lived on the edge—with its interwoven strand of steely artistic determination . . . makes for flavorsome reading. Peppiatt portrays his old friend with easy authority."—Julian Bell, New York Review of Books
Francis Bacon in the 1950sby Michael Peppiatt, University of East Anglia
From the screaming heads and snarling chimpanzees of the late 1940s to the anonymous figures trapped in tortured isolation some ten years later, during one crucial decade British artist Francis Bacon created many of the most central and memorable images of his entire career. The artist enters the decade of the 1950s in search of himself and his true subject;
From the screaming heads and snarling chimpanzees of the late 1940s to the anonymous figures trapped in tortured isolation some ten years later, during one crucial decade British artist Francis Bacon created many of the most central and memorable images of his entire career. The artist enters the decade of the 1950s in search of himself and his true subject; he finishes ten years later having completed some of his great masterpieces and having acquired technical mastery over one of the most disturbing and revealing visions of the 20th century.
This book brings both Bacon the man and Bacon the painter vividly to life, focusing for the first time on this key period in his development. Michael Peppiatt, the leading authority on Bacon and a close friend of the artist for thirty years, reveals essential keys to understanding Bacon's mysterious and subversive art. The book presents and assesses a wide range of paintings (many of them rarely seen before) representing all of Bacon's major themes during the 1950s. Also included is an account of the artist's life in the 1950s.
- Yale University Press
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- 9.50(w) x 10.50(h) x (d)
Meet the Author
Formerly editor and publisher of Art International, Michael Peppiatt is an independent art historian and exhibition curator living between London and Paris. His previous books include Alberto Giacometti in Postwar Paris, published by Yale University Press. His 1996 biography of Francis Bacon, Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma, is considered the definitive account of Bacon's life and work and was chosen as a New York Times Book of the Year.
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The shelves in the art section of bookstores, public and private libraries contain many publications about the important 20th Century figurative artist Francis Bacon: one would think there was little left to be said about the bizarre genius who influenced so many artists and thinkers. But this new volume by long admired proponent of Francis Bacon's work and historical significance, Michael Peppiatt, sheds even more light on how Bacon arrived at the point of creating such disturbing and magnificently painted works. Born in 1909 Francis Bacon did not become a serious artist until the mid 1930s, electing to travel to Berlin and Paris and other magnetic hubs plying his trade as a hustler and effete and along the way making significant statements in the decorative arts and design. Peppiatt takes us from the late 1940s when Bacon's few paintings were of animal life and objects of design elements into the period of the 1950s when he explored the figure, developed his 'caged figure' theme and stretched his portraiture to extremes beyond which few other artists have dared go. It is the combination of history, drawings, previously unpublished reproductions of some paintings, photographs, and a collection of letters Bacon wrote to various people that Peppiatt writes with such mastery of description of Bacon's oeuvre that makes this volume so readable and memorable. The well designed and produced book served as a catalog for a traveling exhibition of the works described in the book. It is not meant to be a definitive total biography of the artist: Peppiatt's 1996 'Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma' is the primer on the artist's life and work. But it is in closer studies such as this book covers that we discover more of the secrets and motivations that have established Francis Bacon as the important artist he became. Highly recommended. Grady Harp