LONDON.-Faggionato Fine Art presents a highly focused examination of portraits of women in Francis Bacon's life: Henrietta Moraes, Isabelle Rawsthorne and Muriel Belcher, on view through October 13.
Featuring paintings together with photographs and selected print ephemera, this exhibition illustrates how Bacon painted both women and men with equal passion and intensity.
Often working from photographs, such as those taken by photographer John Deakin, Bacon found inspiration in his friends and often used them as the starting point in his works. However, even when portraying specific individuals, Bacon is primarily concerned with exploring the human condition in painting: to capture the anxieties and frailties of the physical being, humankind's generic mortality.
His representations are focused on uncovering a truth deeper than the superficial. As an artist Bacon never hesitated in distorting the physical and abstracting the human body. Often reduced to an obscured, twisted mass, anatomical forms such as the headless torso in Kneeling Figure, 1982 become ambiguous in sexuality, round breasts contrasting with large masculine-shaped thighs.
It is interesting to note that whether depicting the commanding beauty of Rawsthorne and Belcher, or the more voluptuous sexuality of Moraes, none of Bacon's women friends seemed to take offence at his mutation of their bodies. Three Studies of Henrietta Moraes, 1966 consists of Moraes' head represented three times from slightly differing angles, various facial features exploited or ignored above her elegant neck and deconstructed into a barely human visage. Nevertheless Moraes has said of Bacon's images of her "They are exactly like me, my personality. There's an eyebrow that's suddenly exactly like me, or a bit of an eye. I know it's me."