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Francis Bacon: A Self-Portrait in Words

Francis Bacon: A Self-Portrait in Words

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AVAILABLE JUNE 18, 2024

By Michael Pepplatt

The documents selected for Francis Bacon: A Self-Portrait in Words illustrate Bacon's sharp wit and ability to express complex ideas in highly personal, memorable language. Included here are not only letters to friends, patrons, and fellow artists, but also intriguing notes and lists of paintings. They often come with a sketch as an aide-mémoire or an injunction to himself as he worked in the studio, and many have only come to light since his death.

Bacon's letters mirror and reveal his dominant preoccupations at different points throughout his long career. Most of Bacon's letters have never been published and include several that he wrote to author Michael Peppiatt. Particularly intriguing is the record of a dream that he jotted down, outlining impossibly beautiful paintings he had conjured up in his sleep. Together with photographs, archive material, and works by the artist are numerous reproductions of Bacon's characteristic handwriting, from the briefest jottings and notes to more extensive letters and statements.

Bacon frequently came up with memorable epithets and definitions. He delighted in doing with words what he set out to do in painting: "I like phrases that cut me." Peppiatt explores the personal legacy of one of the twentieth century's most important painters and presents a compelling verbal self-portrait that reveals both man and artist.

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