New York

Francis Bacon

MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art

The revelation of this carefully selected, historically self-conscious retrospective of the work of Francis Bacon is the progression over the course of the artist’s career from a loaded, murky painterliness, to a spare, even linear, handling. This evolution toward an evanescent thinness, even when color is boldy uniform, goes hand in hand with his schematization of format and figures. Usually considered vitally and uniquely individual, Bacon’s grimacing faces and tortured bodies, his general sense of the sickness of human existence, his ironic secularization (profanation?) of the traditional format of the sacred triptych, his spontaneous appropriation of high art and media images, guided by inner necessity—which makes him look contemporary (if eccentrically excited) in this age of studied appropriation—seem secondary issues. Here Bacon’s signature tortured subjects progressively reveal

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