Search the Collection

Francis Bacon (1909-1992), Painter

Sitter in 43 portraits
Born in Dublin, Bacon left Ireland at the age of sixteen, settling permanently in England in 1928. After first coming to notice as an interior designer, the painting Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion (1944, Tate) established him as an artist of international importance. Bacon used imagery from sources as diverse as Velasquez, Van Gogh, the cinema, crumpled snapshots and illustrations of disease. He described his images of tortured and anguished bodies as 'a direct assault on the nervous system.' Bacon's international reputation was confirmed by retrospectives at the Guggenheim Museum, New York (1963) and Grand Palais, Paris (1971). He is known as one of the twentieth-century's greatest painters.