Born in Dublin in 1909, Francis Bacon is best-known for his visceral and evocative depictions of the human figure: screaming popes, mutated bodies, and twisted portraits of friends and lovers. Having been kicked out of home at the age of 16, Bacon travelled to Berlin and Paris where he sought and found the artistic styles and subject matters that would inspire him for the rest of his career.
Bacon’s first masterpiece – entitled Painting 1946 – was purchased by Alfred Barr, the Director of the Museum of Modern Art, in 1948. In the following year, Brausen Gallery in London hosted the first major solo exhibition of his work, and he continued to be represented by the gallery for the next 10 years.
The first major retrospective of the artist’s work was exhibited at the Grand Palais in Paris in 1971, a crowning achievement for an artist in the midst of his career. Bacon’s influence only continued to grow after his death in 1992; in 2013, Bacon’s triptych depicting fellow artist Lucian Freud broke the record for most expensive work sold at auction, selling for $142million.