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Francis Bacon: Studies for a Portraitby Michael Peppiatt
Synopses & Reviews
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 Baconand#8217;s, offers an entertaining and uniquely well-informed portrait of this complex artist.
Peppiattand#8217;s collection of interviews and essays spans more than forty yearsand#151;from 1963, when the two men met, to 2007, when Peppiatt wrote an essay explaining Baconand#8217;s passionate involvement with Van Gogh. The pieces in between include discussions of Baconand#8217;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 artistand#8217;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 Baconand#8217;s presence and personality.
"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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Bacon is one of the most original and attractive contemporary painters; his twisted human figures, dismembered and without a face, evoke all the horror of the 20th century. In this biography, as Richard Davenport-Hines points out, the description of the evolution of this ideas is enlightening.
About 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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