Francis Bacon: Five Decades

Today, I took myself off to the Francis Bacon – Five Decades exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. I’m in nail-biting limbo waiting for feedback from my Publisher on my second novel and so it was nice to break up the usual routine with a mooch around those big, white gallery rooms and gaze a while on some amazing paintings.

The art was moving and disturbing – the sort of work that challenges and creates an uncomfortable, visceral feeling. On one gallery wall was a quote which simply said: “What is life but what we feel?” Francis Bacon’s paintings, to me, were all about the extremes of feeling, of being alive.

A few paintings featured a man called George Dyer, Francis Bacon’s lover for nearly a decade. The artist claimed to have met George when he caught him breaking into his home. That detail really struck me – one of those stranger than fiction stories. Tragically, less than ten years later the troubled George died of an overdose in a Parisian hotel room, just before the opening night of Francis Bacon’s retrospective at the Grand Palais. The paintings Francis Bacon created of George Dyer following his death were some of the most moving in the collection – the grief there to see in every brushstroke.

A postcard of Francis Bacon in his London studio, 1970. I love the clutter – the landslide of crumpled papers and photographs, the pots of brushes, the art books and discarded tubes and cans of paint, the wall behind him daubed with streaks of colour as if he has used it as his artist’s palette.

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2 comments

  1. Hi Hannah, Sounds like you had a great time in New South Wales, Ohhhhh you have finished the next book 😀 Can’t wait … Congrats 🙂 You willl need some false nails :O at this rate. All the Best with it, looking forward to the next update. Take care, Dawn x

  2. Sorry but when I read you had finished your next book I turned off to the rest 🙂 Seriously Hannah, excited as a reader. I think you’ve shared a little bit of yourself in this post 🙂

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