Francis Bacon (October 28, 1909 - April 28, 1992) was an Anglo-Irish expressionist artist and painter.
Bacon was born in Dublin, Ireland to English parents. The family moved back and forth between Dublin and London several times while he was growing up. He was a sickly child, and his father attempted to "toughen him up" by having his son horsewhipped. He was expelled from his family in 1925 when his homosexuality was discovered.
Bacon then spent a few months in Berlin, then a year and a half in Paris, before returning to London and starting out as an interior designer. Bacon never attended art school, he began work in watercolor about 1926–27. He began to use oils in the fall of 1929. An exhibition of works by Pablo Picasso inspired him to make his first drawings and paintings. The influence of the biomorphic figures in Picasso's works is apparent in Bacon's first major painting of his mature period, Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion (1944). This painting is also representative of some of Bacon's methods and subjects: the triptych, the scream, and the lone figure against a stark backgroud.
Bacon was largely self-taught as an artist. His influences included Pablo Picasso, whose work decisively influenced his painting until the mid-1940s, Diego Velazquez, namely Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X (1649–50) which he was obsessed with according to his own admission, Vincent van Gogh's The Painter on the Road to Tarascon (1888) and Bacon’s work reflected the influence of the Surrealist movement from the mid-1940s to the 1950s. He once said that his most important surrealist influence was not a fellow painter but rather the films of Luis Buñuel. Bacon also drew inspiration from photographs (especially those of Eadweard Muybridge), the poems of T. S. Eliot, the plays of Aeschylus, and the chaos of his famous studio. About the studio, Bacon remarked, "For me, chaos breeds images." An eccentric individual; in 1964 Bacon began a friendship with Eastender George Dyer, who he met (he claimed) while the latter was burgling his apartment. Their relationship was stormy and in 1971 Dyer committed suicide. In 1974, Bacon met John Edwards, a young, handsome East-Ender with whom he formed an enduring, paternal relationship. Bacon was openly homosexual so the nature of their relationship is suspect. Bacon bequeathed his entire estate (valued at £11 million) to Edwards on his death. Bacon died April 28, 1992, in Madrid. After his death, his heir John Edwards donated the contents of Francis Bacon's studio to the Hugh Lane gallery in Dublin; the studio contents were moved and the studio carefully reconstructed in the gallery.
Bacon painted relatively little after his solo show in 1934. Bacon was disdainful of his work from before 1944 and destroyed the majority of it. He also destroyed an unknown number of works throughout his lifetime.