Francis Bacon: Studies for a Portrait

Overview

One of the most elusive and enigmatic creative geniuses of modern times, Francis Bacon was a man of endless contradictions and facets. In this invaluable book Michael Peppiatt, a major art critic and close friend of Bacon’s, offers an entertaining and uniquely well-informed portrait of this complex artist.

Peppiatt’s collection of interviews and essays spans more than forty years—from 1963, when the two men met, to 2007, when Peppiatt wrote an essay explaining Bacon’s passionate...

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Overview

One of the most elusive and enigmatic creative geniuses of modern times, Francis Bacon was a man of endless contradictions and facets. In this invaluable book Michael Peppiatt, a major art critic and close friend of Bacon’s, offers an entertaining and uniquely well-informed portrait of this complex artist.

Peppiatt’s collection of interviews and essays spans more than forty years—from 1963, when the two men met, to 2007, when Peppiatt wrote an essay explaining Bacon’s passionate involvement with Van Gogh. The pieces in between include discussions of Bacon’s working methods and techniques, his unlikely relationship with his London dealer, his attitude toward Christian belief and classical myth, and his defining friendship with the eminent French writer Michel Leiris. Peppiatt also provides fascinating anecdotes about the artist’s early life, his intimate relationships, and his connections with the artists who were his contemporaries and friends. In addition, among the interviews reproduced for the book are new transcripts of two interviews presenting previously omitted material that brings out many little-known aspects of Bacon’s presence and personality.

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Editorial Reviews

Daily Telegraph - Lewis Jones
"Peppiatt writes perceptively about Bacon’s endlessly contradictory nature, his generosity and cruelty, his violence and tenderness, his dandyism and love of squalor, his spectacular dissipation and iron self-discipline, and what he called his 'exhilarated despair'." — Lewis Jones, Daily Telegraph
Publishers Weekly

Peppiatt, having already written Bacon's biography (Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma), now submits a collection of essays and interviews spanning his career of writing on the artist. Some of the pieces, updated with material originally omitted because Bacon (1909-1992) was still living, take on new life. They also echo each other, as when, in an essay for Art International, Peppiatt writes that "comparatively few artists were admitted into Bacon's pantheon, and even they tended to be pared down to one or other aspect of their oeuvre"-Degas was one, as Bacon says in one interview: "Degas is complete in himself. I like his pastels enormously." Each piece describes a different period in Bacon's life, a theme in the work, influences or significant companions. As each topic is inscribed with the biographical essentials, the motifs stand out in relief from the background details. The book gains a certain rhythm as the portrait is made simultaneously more simple and more complex. The effect, cast in Peppiatt's intimate reportage, works well, and the book will enrich the library of any Bacon enthusiast. 16 pages of color and 35 b&w illus. (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300142556
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 11/18/2008
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Peppiatt is the leading authority on Francis Bacon. He has written the definitive biography of the artist and curated several influential exhibitions of his work.

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