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Francis Bacon: Incunabula

Martin Harrison, Rebecca Daniels

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A unique collection of Francis Bacon's source material and working documents


In 1949 Francis Bacon found his subject – the human body – and from then on it remained his principal theme. But he did not paint from life. Instead he appropriated images from the mass media that he manipulated into his ‘studies’. His paintings bore witness to the shattered psychology of the time and shot him to a prominence that hardly diminished over the next fifty years, and that continues to rise.

This book presents many of the ‘working documents’ about which Bacon was entirely secretive but which, it emerges, were integral to his creative process. Culled from thousands of pieces of original material found in his studio, including newspapers, magazines, books and photographs, these items have each been exhaustively and minutely researched, providing for the first time comprehensive details of the artist’s sources.

Nearly all previously unseen, these visually thrilling documents demonstrate Bacon’s unerring eye for seeking out visual stimulation in the most unexpected places. His paintings emerged from a dialogue between great art of the past, photographic imagery of the present and early cinema.

This unique selection of material – thoroughly researched, meticulously documented and compellingly presented – will provide an invaluable insight into both the artist’s work and working methods.

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'Invaluable … the sheer range of material reproduced here is exhilarating'
Richard Cork, Art Quarterly

'Fascinating … the aftermath of a visual orgy'

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 30.0 x 24.0 cm

Extent: 224 pp

Publication date: 15 September 2008

ISBN: 9780500093443

About the Author

Martin Harrison is one of the foremost scholars of Francis Bacon, and the editor of Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné.

Rebecca Daniels is an Art Historian who is a Trustee on the Sidney Nolan Trust, and former Art Historian for the Estate of Francis Bacon.

List of Contributors

Barbara Dawson