1909, Dublin – 1992, Madrid
Trained as an interior designer, Francis Bacon took his first steps as an artist in 1927, having been impressed by a Picasso exhibition. Within a short time he produced numerous drawings and watercolours on his own initiative. The only teacher the otherwise self-taught Bacon can be said to have had was the Cubist painter Roy de Maistre. In 1934 Bacon had his first solo exhibition at the Transition Gallery in London. His portrayals of vulnerable and tortured bodies, often depicted in the form of triptychs, were mostly based on photographs. He used distortion, mutilation and the simultaneous superimposition of several phases of movement to reveal the agony of human existence. In 1954 he was chosen to represent Great Britain at the Venice Biennale together with Ben Nicholson and Lucien Freud.