The Gilded Gutter Life of Francis Bacon
Daniel Farson gives a personal view of his (if only in his own mind) ‘friend’s’ chaotic debauched life, gay lovers, masochistic beatings and ‘bits of rough’. This is in no way a proper critical view of this painter’s life, it is merely a tabloid’s view, scandalous, shallow and sometimes pathetic. It is a fantastic read!
The storytelling is random and underscored with Farson’s deep bitterness – I think he wanted to be a bigger player in this game.
Bacon’s early life, which sounds positively hideous, the days in Berlin, Paris and the buggering about on the coast. The deep depression and the sex driven, drink driven highs are all in The Gilded Gutter Life of Francis Bacon. Well worth reading.
From the mid 1960s, Bacon mainly produced portrait heads of friends. He often said in interviews that he saw images “in series”, and his artistic output often saw him focus on single themes for sustained periods including his crucifixion, Papal heads, and later single and triptych heads series. He began by painting variations on the Crucifixion and later focused on half human-half grotesque heads, best exemplified by the 1949 “Heads in a Room” series. Following the 1971 suicide of his lover George Dyer, Bacon’s art became more personal, inward looking and preoccupied with themes and motifs of death. The climax of this late period came with his 1982 “Study for Self-Portrait”, and his late masterpiece Study for a Self Portrait -Triptych, 1985-86. Despite his seemingly existentialist outlook on life, Bacon appeared to be a bon vivant, spending much of his middle and later life eating, drinking and gambling in London’s Soho with Lucian Freud, John Deakin, Daniel Farson, Patrick Swift, Jeffrey Bernard, Muriel Belcher and Henrietta Moraes, among others. Following Dyer’s death he distanced himself from this circle and became less involved with rough trade to settle in a platonic relationship with his eventual heir, John Edwards.