April 28, On This Day
Of screaming portraits
Known for his raw, unsettling imagery, Irish-born British figurative painter Francis Bacon was born in October 1909 and passed away on April 28, 1992.
He built up a reputation as one of the giants of contemporary art with his unique style, and his artworks focused on subjects including crucifixions, abstracted figures sometimes isolated in geometrical structures, and ‘screaming’ portraits: of popes, himself, and close friends — typically the human form.
He often brought out art in triptych or diptych formats, and was influenced over his career by Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Alberto Giacometti and Henri Matisse. Bacon led a troubled life, dealing periodically with ostracisation (by his family as an LGBTQ person), early career upheavals, frequent brawls, and the death of close ones (the suicide of his lover George Dyer in 1971).
Since his death, Bacon’s reputation has grown steadily, and his work is among the most acclaimed, expensive and sought-after on the art market. Previously assumed destroyed portraits have re-emerged to set record prices at auction.