EU shipping is temporarily suspended

Interviews with Francis Bacon

The Brutality of Fact

David Sylvester


A genre-defining book of interviews between Francis Bacon and David Sylvester

See Inside


The extraordinarily revealing interviews with Francis Bacon conducted over a period of 25 years by the distinguished art critic David Sylvester amount to a unique statement by Bacon on his art and on art in general. As a discussion of the problems of making art, the book has been widely influential not only among artists but also among writers and musicians including David Bowie, who named it among his favourite books.

With a rare and brilliant use of language, Bacon talks about his aims as a painter and the ways in which he works, responding always with vivacity and candour to Sylvester’s searching questions.

Bacon’s obsessive effort to record and re-create the human form, his practice of making variations on old masters’ paintings and on photographs, his dependence upon chance, and his views about the way in which his work has been interpreted are only some of the many subjects discussed and investigated in depth during these historic encounters.

Offering unparalleled access to the thought, work and life of one of the creative geniuses of the twentieth century, this book – with its subsequent revised and augmented editions – has become a classic.

Read More


'A classic'

'Compelling ... a profound, lucid text, precisely illustrated'
Sunday Times

'When it comes to illuminating the work of the artist, this short, nourishing book is hard to beat'

'May well have as great an influence on painting during the last quarter of the [20th] century as the critical writings of Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot had on poetry during the 1920s and 1930s'
Stephen Spender

'Endlessly fascinating'
The Spectator

'The most celebrated documentation of the painter'
Sunday Telegraph

'An intriguing book capable of shedding light on the life of one of the most influential figures of the 20th century '

Read More

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback with flaps

Edition Type: Third edition

Size: 22.9 x 15.3 cm

Extent: 232 pp

Publication date: 29 September 2016

ISBN: 9780500292532

Contents List

Preface • 9 interviews • Editorial note

About the Author

David Sylvester CBE (1924–2001) was a prominent writer, art critic and curator, and a leading authority on René Magritte, Henry Moore and, in particular, Francis Bacon. He first wrote about Bacon’s work in the late 1940s, and the pair soon became close friends. Over the next forty years, he was Bacon’s Boswell, interpreter, confidant, occasional model and briefly agent. He curated or co-curated numerous major exhibitions at museums around the world, including one-man shows of Picasso, Miró, Magritte, Moore, Giacometti and Bacon. His published books include Interviews with Francis Bacon, Looking Back at Francis Bacon and the five-volume Magritte catalogue raisonné.