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Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma

Michael Peppiatt

5 Reviews

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Biography: general, Prose: non-fiction

The definitive biography of Francis Bacon, re-issued with substantial new material to co-incide with a major retrospective exhibition at Tate Britain.

Published in 1996, Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma was the first in-depth study of the artist's life. It has not been superseded.

In this substantially revised, updated edition - to coincide with the artist's centenary, which will be celebrated from autumn 2008 through summer 2009 - Peppiatt will incorporate confidential material Bacon gave him, which he did not include in the first edition.

This valuable, first-hand information comes from the hundreds of conversations Bacon had with Peppiatt, often late into the night, over thirty years, particularly during the periods Bacon spent living and working in Paris. It includes insights into Bacon's intimate relationships, his artistic convictions and his general view of life, as well as his acerbic comments on his contemporaries.

Peppiatt will draw on some of the fascinating information that has become available in the fifteen years since the artist died. Once jealously guarded by the artist himself, the contents of Bacon's studio can now be freely consulted; Peppiatt has had privileged access to these archives, and he will show how a number of recent discoveries - including wholly unexpected source material - have radically changed the way we look at Bacon's work.

Similarly, his recent research into the artist's background - his tortured affair with the sadistic Peter Lacy in Tangier, for instance, and the baffling circumstances of his death in Madrid - will shed light on unexplored areas of Bacon's life and work. Peppiatt will also unveil new information from several people who knew Bacon intimately and who have never gone on record previously.

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Praise for Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma

  • Brilliantly and evocatively written. - Daily Mail

  • [Peppiatt's] account of the evolution of Bacon's artistic ideas is confident, amusing and thought-provoking. - The Independent

  • This account of a life, as Peppiatt puts it, "filled with the extremes of human emotion and devoted to expressing them with utmost force," is probably more readable and enjoyable than the attempts at exhaustive biography which surely lie ahead. - Gilbert De Botton, Literary Review

  • Anatomy of an Engima will surely remain a uniquely authoritative and readable account of the man who once confided, 'it may sound pretentious but you see I have had the most extraordinary life'. - Literary Review

  • One of the most important and insightful writings on the artist - Art Newspaper

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