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Interviews with Francis Bacon 1962–1979

David Sylvester, Interviews with Francis Bacon 1962–1979 (London: Thames and Hudson (distributed by W.E. Norton & Co.), 1981), 176 pages, 129 illustrations.

DAVID SYLVESTER’S INTERVIEWS WITH Francis Bacon presents a portrait of a tough-minded artist, a man who is father-conflicted, compulsive, driven to surpass himself, productive in spite of (or perhaps because of) his cynical world view. In the preface, Sylvester suggests that the seven interviews spanning 17 years from 1962 to 1979 form an extended dialogue. That is a prodigious claim, and while Sylvester has elicited the kind of candid information from Bacon that one can only elicit from a long-standing friend, the control and wit in this collaborative effort are clearly Bacon’s.

Carefully preserving the artist’s distinctive “turns of phrase,” Sylvester has altered the sequence of the responses and edited the interviews into a unified

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