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A decade in the making: the first comprehensive look at the life and art of Francis Bacon, one of the iconic painters of the twentieth century--from the Pulitzer Prize-winning authors of de Kooning: An American Master. Francis Bacon created an indelible image of mankind in modern times, and played an outsized role in both twentieth century art and life--from A decade in the making: the first comprehensive look at the life and art of Francis Bacon, one of the iconic painters of the twentieth century--from the Pulitzer Prize-winning authors of de Kooning: An American Master. Francis Bacon created an indelible image of mankind in modern times, and played an outsized role in both twentieth century art and life--from his public emergence with his legendary Triptych 1944 (its images so unrelievedly awful that people fled the gallery), to his death in Madrid in 1992. Bacon was a witty free spirit and unabashed homosexual at a time when many others remained closeted, and his exploits were as unforgettable as his images. He moved among the worlds of London's Soho and East End, the literary salons of London and Paris, and the homosexual life of Tangier. Through hundreds of interviews, and extensive new research, the authors probe Bacon's childhood in Ireland (he earned his father's lasting disdain because his asthma prevented him from hunting); his increasingly open homosexuality; his early design career--never before explored in detail; the formation of his vision; his early failure as an artist; his uneasy relationship with American abstract art; and his improbable late emergence onto the international stage as one of the great visionaries of the twentieth century. In all, Francis Bacon: Revelations gives us a more complete and nuanced--and more international--portrait than ever before of this singularly private, darkly funny, eruptive man and his equally eruptive, extraordinary art. Bacon was not just an influential artist, he helped remake the twentieth-century figure.


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A decade in the making: the first comprehensive look at the life and art of Francis Bacon, one of the iconic painters of the twentieth century--from the Pulitzer Prize-winning authors of de Kooning: An American Master. Francis Bacon created an indelible image of mankind in modern times, and played an outsized role in both twentieth century art and life--from A decade in the making: the first comprehensive look at the life and art of Francis Bacon, one of the iconic painters of the twentieth century--from the Pulitzer Prize-winning authors of de Kooning: An American Master. Francis Bacon created an indelible image of mankind in modern times, and played an outsized role in both twentieth century art and life--from his public emergence with his legendary Triptych 1944 (its images so unrelievedly awful that people fled the gallery), to his death in Madrid in 1992. Bacon was a witty free spirit and unabashed homosexual at a time when many others remained closeted, and his exploits were as unforgettable as his images. He moved among the worlds of London's Soho and East End, the literary salons of London and Paris, and the homosexual life of Tangier. Through hundreds of interviews, and extensive new research, the authors probe Bacon's childhood in Ireland (he earned his father's lasting disdain because his asthma prevented him from hunting); his increasingly open homosexuality; his early design career--never before explored in detail; the formation of his vision; his early failure as an artist; his uneasy relationship with American abstract art; and his improbable late emergence onto the international stage as one of the great visionaries of the twentieth century. In all, Francis Bacon: Revelations gives us a more complete and nuanced--and more international--portrait than ever before of this singularly private, darkly funny, eruptive man and his equally eruptive, extraordinary art. Bacon was not just an influential artist, he helped remake the twentieth-century figure.

53 review for Francis Bacon: Revelations

  1. 4 out of 5

    Oliver Shrouder

    Phenomenal read about an infinitely interesting person, but naturally drags in many areas over its 800+ page span; however i doubt there will ever be a Bacon biography this engaging and comprehensive again

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dec Lloyd

    I found this a profoundly extensive but also excessive biography, which could have been so much better if it were cut down to about 3-400 pages... There is just swathes of pages dedicated to history that seems pretty bland and uninteresting and only loosely important (footnotes turned into chapters?)... These are words which I never thought I'd use when describing a bio of Francis Bacon's life.. There also seems a lot of doubt about Bacon's own retelling of events in his life... He's almost sold I found this a profoundly extensive but also excessive biography, which could have been so much better if it were cut down to about 3-400 pages... There is just swathes of pages dedicated to history that seems pretty bland and uninteresting and only loosely important (footnotes turned into chapters?)... These are words which I never thought I'd use when describing a bio of Francis Bacon's life.. There also seems a lot of doubt about Bacon's own retelling of events in his life... He's almost sold as a compulsive liar... Which seems odd - for a biography to be so incessantly dubious.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sangkyu Lee

    At almost 900 pages of text, this wasn't an easy book for me to pick up. My interest in art has always been fairly superficial and this would be the first one of these tomes on a single artist. I did anyway, and a week later I'm happy I did. This was a great book on an important painter who had an amazing, complex life. It was thoroughly informative and hugely enjoyable. I think the first Bacon painting I saw (and remembered anyway) was an early triptych exhibited at Tate Britain. On a shock ora At almost 900 pages of text, this wasn't an easy book for me to pick up. My interest in art has always been fairly superficial and this would be the first one of these tomes on a single artist. I did anyway, and a week later I'm happy I did. This was a great book on an important painter who had an amazing, complex life. It was thoroughly informative and hugely enjoyable. I think the first Bacon painting I saw (and remembered anyway) was an early triptych exhibited at Tate Britain. On a shock orange background, the three pictures depict some pretty disturbing caricatures of a human, as if a living person has been moulded into clumps of flesh, with the sightless victims screaming out silently, begging for death. It touched a nerve. It was also pretty horrible. Perhaps even more so, because the painting looked so out of place in the same space Gainsborough and Turner. But then again, Bacon's early nightmarish paintings would seem out of place pretty much anywhere. The lack of context, this rejection to be a member of some historic movement was a consistent thread in Bacon's art that spanned more than half a century. Born an asthmatic Anglo-Irish in a well-to-do military family, he seems to have stumbled upon painting whilst working as a furniture and interior designer. His paintings began to be noticed only in his late thirties, and even then it wasn't a straightforward propulsion to stardom. Neither impressionistic nor abstract, his works were difficult to place in either the Paris or New York art 'scenes', and the agonising, violent images in huge dimensions did not readily find a willing market amongst collectors either. No matter; Bacon continued to pursue his own artistic tradition with Nietzschean fervour, until, eventually, he became one of the most celebrated artists of the last century. Whilst chronicling his professional trajectory, the book also faithfully follows his personal life. And what a life it was. He was a gay man born from parents who regarded homosexual acts 'as an abomination', and lived in societies that grudgingly accepted his existence at best. He nonetheless cultivated some deep relationships, both lovers and friends, who in turn shaped his life. It wasn't all happy days - his relationship with Peter Lacy, who the author speculates was the love of his life, was particularly frought. Once an aspiring musician, Lacy gradually degenerated into an alcoholic, abusive partner. It wasn't a choreographed S&M session with safe words; Lacy beat him furiously in their many rows, in one instance hurling Bacon out of a window, letting him fall 10-15 feet below. Yet they stayed together for a long time. Thankfully, not all of Bacon's relationships were as emotionally charged and ruinous. He was usually gregarious, charming and 'dandy' wherever he went. He loved parties, drinking, and gambling -- he loved to win, and he also loved to lose, especially everything. He kept many a lifelong friends, and remained loyal to his family and adopted families, yet he delighted in meeting new people. Even in his eighties, he said 'often when I go out in the evenings I flirt as if I was 50.' And as his asthmatic body started to fail him, he 'resolutely refused to give up champagne.' That made me happy.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dramatika

    What a book to start another tough year! Many thanx to the great authors to paint such a colorful picture of the complex artist and man! This biography managed to through exam the real man behind the painting. Bacon cultivated the myth about himself, his persona as an artist and as an important man. The biographers managed to reveal some of the true man hiding behind the facade. As many talented and great people, Francis Bacon was very complex human being, with many contradictory and opposing cha What a book to start another tough year! Many thanx to the great authors to paint such a colorful picture of the complex artist and man! This biography managed to through exam the real man behind the painting. Bacon cultivated the myth about himself, his persona as an artist and as an important man. The biographers managed to reveal some of the true man hiding behind the facade. As many talented and great people, Francis Bacon was very complex human being, with many contradictory and opposing characteristics. He defied some conventions yet stayed true to many thing he considered proper. He wanted to flaunt his carelessness about money, class and status yet worked hard to stay on top echelon. He despised making money yet never truly suffered the lack of it, even during hard hit times he always had a home and a following of rich friends to fall on. The wonderful work of the authors allowed us to see the objective ( as any book can be) view of the tough life of this amazing artist. For the days I read this book Bacon became very close acquaintance or even friend to me. It helped that I knew and admired not only his work, but also many people shaping it. Through this story I could feel the times he lived and the cultural icons who defined it. I loved how the personal story behind every painting corresponds to the events in the life and how it changes the perception of the work. I also feel the struggle of the demonic forces inside that illustrate how it can be resolved on the canvas. Many people suffer through the hardships of toxic parents, violent love relationships and tumultuous friendships. Yet only the talented few can sublimate these destroying powers into the truly divine works.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Peter B

    A detailed repository of every piece of information anyone needs to know about this key twentieth century artist. The authors balance anecdotes about eccentric and extreme behaviour with a sympathetic, frank exploration of Francis Bacon's character and influences. But most importantly, the paintings are discussed with accounts of chronology, formal development, evolution of themes and vision, as well as money, galleries, marketing. It's a daunting tome but it shrank as the biographers pulled me A detailed repository of every piece of information anyone needs to know about this key twentieth century artist. The authors balance anecdotes about eccentric and extreme behaviour with a sympathetic, frank exploration of Francis Bacon's character and influences. But most importantly, the paintings are discussed with accounts of chronology, formal development, evolution of themes and vision, as well as money, galleries, marketing. It's a daunting tome but it shrank as the biographers pulled me in past sensationalism. So good that I reread many paragraphs and paused frequently to let paintings speak. (My one disappointment was the number of paintings illustrated but I kept a book of reproductions handy and referred to the internet.) Thank you Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan. Thank you Francis.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tineke Mollemans

  7. 5 out of 5

    Michael Howells

  8. 5 out of 5

    Henrietta

  9. 5 out of 5

    Richard

  10. 4 out of 5

    Máni Sigfússon

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cornelius Browne

  12. 5 out of 5

    Trent R

  13. 5 out of 5

    david wallace

  14. 4 out of 5

    David Moran

  15. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Darlington

  16. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anne

  18. 5 out of 5

    *|FNAME|*

  19. 5 out of 5

    robert

  20. 5 out of 5

    Estref Mersinaj

  21. 5 out of 5

    Zlatan

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mark Jarvis

  23. 4 out of 5

    my books

  24. 5 out of 5

    Karen

  25. 5 out of 5

    Stjarna

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gabriela

  27. 5 out of 5

    POW!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Steve Walker

  29. 4 out of 5

    ANALYN

  30. 5 out of 5

    Julia Frakes

  31. 5 out of 5

    RB

  32. 4 out of 5

    Emily Lucas

  33. 4 out of 5

    Jakub Szestowicki

  34. 5 out of 5

    Jo Hughes

  35. 4 out of 5

    Cecilia Zhang

  36. 4 out of 5

    Arno Mosikyan

  37. 4 out of 5

    Mark Gubarenko

  38. 4 out of 5

    João Garcia

  39. 5 out of 5

    Major Percy Smythe

  40. 5 out of 5

    David White

  41. 4 out of 5

    Syd James

  42. 5 out of 5

    Ellen IJzerman (Prowisorio)

  43. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

  44. 4 out of 5

    Peter Longworth

  45. 5 out of 5

    Nanette Jamieson

  46. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Hogmire

  47. 5 out of 5

    Patti Taylor

  48. 5 out of 5

    Gary Sun

  49. 4 out of 5

    Michal Smrek

  50. 5 out of 5

    Matthew White

  51. 4 out of 5

    Simon

  52. 5 out of 5

    Erik Day

  53. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Shafel

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