Francis Bacon. Studies for a Portrait
Yale University Press, London / New Haven, 2008
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 Bacon’s, offers an entertaining and uniquely well-informed portrait of this complex artist.
Peppiatt’s collection of interviews and essays spans more than forty years—from 1963, when the two men met, to 2007, when Peppiatt wrote an essay explaining Bacon’s passionate involvement with Van Gogh. The pieces in between include discussions of Bacon’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 artist’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 Bacon’s presence and personality.