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Francis Bacon

Triptychs

June 20–August 4, 2006
Britannia Street, London

FRANCIS BACON Triptych, 1976 Oil on canvas 3 panels: 78 × 58 inches each (198.1 × 147.3 cm) © The Estate of Francis Bacon 2006 *This work is not for sale

FRANCIS BACON Triptych, 1976

Oil on canvas 3 panels: 78 × 58 inches each (198.1 × 147.3 cm) © The Estate of Francis Bacon 2006 *This work is not for sale

Francis Bacon, Three Studies for a Portrait Including Self-Portrait, 1967 Oil on canvas, 3 panels: 14 × 12 inches each (35.5 × 30.5 cm)© The Estate of Francis Bacon 2006

Francis Bacon, Three Studies for a Portrait Including Self-Portrait, 1967

Oil on canvas, 3 panels: 14 × 12 inches each (35.5 × 30.5 cm)
© The Estate of Francis Bacon 2006

FRANCIS BACON Triptych—Studies from the Human Body, 1970 Oil on canvas 3 panels: 78 × 58 inches each (198.1 × 147.5 cm) © The Estate of Francis Bacon 2006 *This work is not for sale

FRANCIS BACON Triptych—Studies from the Human Body, 1970

Oil on canvas 3 panels: 78 × 58 inches each (198.1 × 147.5 cm) © The Estate of Francis Bacon 2006 *This work is not for sale

Francis Bacon, Three Studies for a Portrait (Mick Jagger), 1982 Oil on canvas, 3 panels: 14 × 12 inches each (35.5 × 30.5 cm)© The Estate of Francis Bacon 2006

Francis Bacon, Three Studies for a Portrait (Mick Jagger), 1982

Oil on canvas, 3 panels: 14 × 12 inches each (35.5 × 30.5 cm)
© The Estate of Francis Bacon 2006

About

"Triptychs are the thing I like doing most, and I think this may be related to the thought I've sometimes had of making a film. I like the juxtaposition of the images separated on three different canvases. So far as my work has any quality, I often feel perhaps it is the triptychs have the most quality." (Francis Bacon, 1979)

Gagosian Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of triptychs by the late Francis Bacon. This is the first exhibition of the artist's work in the U.K. since the Hayward Gallery retrospective in 1998 and includes many important loans from public institutions and private collections.

In the famous interviews with David Sylvester, Bacon states,"…I see every image all the time in a shifting way and almost in shifting sequences…. one picture reflects on the other continuously and sometimes they're better in series than they are separately because, unfortunately, I've never yet been able to make the one image that sums up all the others. So one image against the other seems to be able to say more." Thus Bacon's painting, with its visceral, ever-intensifying exploration of the relation between figure and field, proceeds through series: series of crucifixions, series of Popes, series of portraits and self-portraits, series of simultaneity itself, as in the triptychs. And within each work, whether single or triple, each painting, each figure is itself a shifting sequence or series of sensations; each sensation exists at different levels, in different orders, or in different domains, brought together in the artist's attempt, as he himself describes it, 'to capture the appearance together with the cluster of sensations that the appearance arouses in me."

The triptych format first appeared in Bacon's pivotal work, Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion (1944). This small triptych contained the seed for the first large triptych Three Studies for a Crucifixion (1962), which in turn set in motion a long process of large triptychs of almost consistent dimension. Although Bacon was clearly aware of the historical antecedents in religious art, he cites the panoramic cinema screen as the main inspiration for his use of the triptych, thus totally recreating it as a topical format. Gilles Deleuze writes, "The triptych has thoroughly separate sections, truly distinct, which in advance negate any narrative that would establish itself among them. Yet Bacon also links these sections with a kind of brutal, unifying distribution that makes them interrelate free of any symbolic undercurrent." (Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation, 1981)

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