Francis Bacon is one of the most significant figures in 20th Century British Art. He evolved his own distinctive visual approach which distorted the figure, offering a visceral violence and discomfort to his imagery. His own reputation as a self-taught artist, openly gay in a largely hostile society, comfortable moving between the different strata of society and with extreme highs and lows in his personal life fed the narrative and intrigue around his artwork.
An adamant atheist, Bacon was nevertheless pre-occupied by specific religious imagery in his work, returning to the intensity, violence and suffering of the Crucifixion event. He also repeatedly worked in a series of three panels, the traditional triptych form, as we can see here. Triptych – 1983 encompasses many of Bacon’s preoccupations and dates from a significant period in his career, when he was an established artist, highly regarded and with an array of international exhibitions behind him. In 1985, TATE held a major retrospective of his work, with the statement celebrating our ‘greatest living painter.’
Bacon discovered and developed his particular artistic preoccupations relatively early in his career. By 1983, he had refined his approach to become more nuanced, so we see the three figures, each featured within an individual panel, unfolding here, their bodies dramatically abbreviated, with the tops of each head cut off so the viewers’ attention is focussed on the muscularity and movement of the torso and limbs. Placed against a searing orange background, the impact is strikingly visceral. These figures embody both strength and vulnerability, the dichotomy inherent to our bodies and our minds. The result is essentially Bacon and almost timeless.
We were delighted to offer this significant lithographic work, from the edition of 180, with each panel signed and numbered, at this moment when attention was being re-directed to his work with the Royal Academy’s five-star rated exhibition, ‘Francis Bacon: Man and Beast’ that was on display in London in early 2022.
Lyon & Turnbull are delighted to offer Modern and Contemporary editioned prints and multiples within our Contemporary & Post-War Art // Prints & Multiples and MODERN MADE auctions.
An exciting and developing area of the market, Prints & Multiples are popular with new and seasoned collectors alike.
At Lyon & Turnbull, we handle prints from a wide variety of artists: from 20th century masters Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Joan Miro through to the British canon of printmakers including Dame Laura Knight, L.S. Lowry, Edward Bawden, all the way to David Hockney and Howard Hodgkin. Our auctions encompass printmaking created up to and including the present day, with artists currently working in these mediums, such as Tracey Emin, David Shrigley, Banksy and the Connor Brothers.
Characterised by competitive bidding, strong results and a high selling rate, our Contemporary & Post-War Art sales are among our most popular auctions. Held three times a year in our Scottish saleroom, highlights are also regularly exhibited in our London gallery. Our strong private client base and excellent international marketing reach has seen these sales grow into flagships of our company.
Encompassing works by both emerging and internationally regarded contemporary artists and sculptors, we have achieved top prices for household names including John Hoyland (a world record), Bridget Riley, Eduardo Paolozzi (a world record for a sculpture), Terry Frost, Nicholas Party, Alison Watt and Callum Innes. Regularly featured local favourites include John Bellany and the ‘New Glasgow Boys’ Peter Howson, Ken Currie, Steven Campbell, as well as John Byrne and Alasdair Gray.