Francis Bacon About Town: Surrealist Painter, Worth Multi-Millions

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Francis Bacon, Irish born British painter, whose work recently auctioned for a record $142 million, in his own words in a 1985 documentary for British television, gambling, drinking, and talking about his influences.

abstract expressionism, Francis Bacon

“Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X” (1953) — Sir Francis Bacon’s iconic creative re-interpretation of Diego Velázquez’s portrait of the Pope in 1650. From Des Moines Art Center.

Part of The South Bank Show series, David Hinton directs this documentary about British painter Francis Bacon, known for his horrifying portraits [to some] of humanity. The program consists of a series of conversations between Bacon and interviewer Melvyn Bragg, starting with commentary during a side-show presentation at the Tate Gallery in London. Later in the evening, Bacon is followed through various bars hanging out, drinking, and gambling. In another segment, Bacon provides a tour of his painting studio and a glimpse at his reference photographs of distorted humans. The artist discusses his theories, influences, and obsessions. This title won an International Emmy Award in 1985. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, All Movie Guide


Francis Bacon on The South Bank Show by David Hinton, Part One

“Chaos for me breeds images.”  — Francis Bacon


Francis Bacon on The South Bank Show by David Hinton, Part Two

The program finds Bacon ready to discuss his life and work with utter frankness: his gambling; his homosexuality; his distaste for the academy; his famous paintings he’d rather see burned; his habit of not only painting without a sketch, but doing so on the “wrong” side of the canvas. ~ Colin Marshall, Open Culture

A painting by artist Francis Bacon sold for $142,405,000 in November 2013, breaking the record as the most expensive piece of art ever auctioned, according to a statement from the auction house. “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” was sold after six minutes of bidding in the room and on the phone at Christie’s in New York City, according to spokeswoman Elizabeth Van Bergen. Painted in 1969, it is known as one of Bacon’s most iconic works, as it features Lucian Freud at the apex of his relationship with Bacon, according to the auction house’s statement.  ~ Allie Malloy, CNN

“I am optimistic about nothing.”  — Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon (28 October 1909 – 28 April 1992) was an Irish-born British figurative painter known for his bold, graphic and emotionally raw imagery. His painterly but abstracted figures typically appear isolated in glass or steel geometrical cages set against flat, nondescript backgrounds. Bacon began painting during his early 20s and worked only sporadically until his mid-30s. Unsure of his ability as a painter, he drifted and earned his living as an interior decorator and designer of furniture and rugs. Later, he admitted that his career was delayed because he had spent too long looking for a subject that would sustain his interest. His breakthrough came with the 1944 triptych Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion which sealed his reputation as a uniquely bleak chronicler of the human condition.

Episode number: 8×25 – Airdate: Sunday June 09th, 1985 Produced by LWT (now branded ITV Studios) Original channel ITV (ITV1/STV/UTV)

H/T UbuWeb

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Jack Eidt

About Jack Eidt

Writer, urban theorist, and environmental advocate, Jack Eidt careens down human-nature's all consuming one-way highway to its inevitable conclusion - Wilder Utopia. He co-founded Wild Heritage Planners, based out of Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at jack (dot) eidt (at) wilderutopia (dot) com.