new-york

Francis Bacon

Marlborough | Midtown

Francis Bacon’s new paintings demonstrate again his secure mastery of a by-now-familiar vocabulary, and yet, with the artist aged 75, still strike new notes. Bacon’s position seems toweringly high at this moment. Through the ages of abstraction and minimalism he remained one of the very few representational painters about whom even dedicated formalists could feel good. Now the forefront of things has caught up with him, in both his quoting—of Cimabue, Van Gogh, Velázquez, Ingres, and of photographic images—and his kind of exploration of space. The opposition between the illusionistic, three-dimensional space of representation and the flat, concrete space of minimalist abstraction offers a conceptual dilemma which Bacon was among the first to bring into the open, exploring, as he put it, “the difference, in fact, between paint which conveys directly and paint which conveys through illustration.”

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