Francis Bacon in the 1950s


From the screaming heads and snarling chimpanzees of the late 1940s to the anonymous figures trapped in tortured isolation some ten years later, British artist Francis Bacon during one crucial decade created many of the most central and memorable images of his entire career.

The artist enters the decade of the 1950s in search of himself and his true subject: he finishes ten years later having completed some of his great masterpieces and having acquired technical mastery over one of the most disturbing and revealing visions of the twentieth century. This book brings both Bacon the man and Bacon the painter vividly to life, focusing for the first time on this key period in his development.

Michael Peppiatt, the leading authority on Bacon and a close friend of the artist for thirty years, offers a groundbreaking study that reveals essential keys to understanding Bacon’s mysterious and subversive art. The book presents a wide range of paintings (many of them rarely seen before) representing all of Bacon’s major themes during the 1950s, analyzes the significant developments in his art, and assesses the particular importance of key works.

Also included is the most comprehensive account of the artist’s life in the 1950s ever written and a series of fascinating and revealing conversations between Peppiatt and Bacon in 1964, 1987, and 1989.


The book is available from Amazon UK in HardbackPaperback, and through Amazon US in Hardback and Paperback.



‘…a profound meditation on the painter’s psychology and motivation; one of the best things ever written on Bacon.’
— The Sunday Telegraph, November 26, 2006

‘To accompany UEA’s excellent show Yale has published a substantial and rather beautiful volume…’
— The Spectator, December 2, 2006