An “amusing and thought-provoking” portrait of one of contemporary art’s most challenging figures (The Independent).
Francis Bacon was one of the most powerful and enigmatic creative geniuses of the twentieth century. Immediately recognizable and unforgettable, his paintings continue to challenge interpretations and provoke controversy. Bacon was also an extraordinary personality. Generous but cruel, forthright yet manipulative, extravagant but in despair: He was the sum of his contradictions. This life, lived at extremes, was filled with achievement and triumph, misfortune and personal tragedy.
In his revised and updated edition, Michael Peppiatt draws from fresh material that only became available in the years since the artist’s death. Most important, he includes confidential material given to him by Bacon but omitted from the first edition.
This riveting, definitive biography is derived from the hundreds of occasions Bacon and Peppiatt sat conversing, often late into the night, over thirty years, particularly focusing on Bacon’s time working in Paris. We are also given insight into Bacon’s intimate relationships, his artistic convictions and views on life, as well as his often acerbic comments on his contemporaries.
“Careful research and 30 years of acquaintance inform this biography.” —The New York Times
“Peppiatt’s real accomplishment is that he makes you feel Bacon as a living presence.” —Salon Magazine
“Valuable first hand information . . . including wholly unexpected source material.” —The Times (London)
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.