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Gilded Gutter Life of Francis Bacon, The Hardcover – March 22, 1994

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Farson, an art critic and author of a biography of his great-uncle Bram Stoker, The Man Who Wrote Dracula , draws on his 40-year friendship with Bacon to write this gossipy, loosely constructed and ultimately self-indulgent biography of the British painter who died in 1992 at the age of 82. The Bacon who emerges here is a stereotype of the artist as a defiant libertine whose revels flout the decorum of a hypocritical society. Farson discusses at length Bacon's appetites--for wine, for food and for lovers chosen from London's rough trade, including the illiterate, charismatic George Dyer, who was Bacon's frequent model and muse. Most of the friends and hangers-on that clutter Farson's book are too haphazardly sketched to reveal much about Bacon himself; the torrent of anecdotes defies attempts to link Bacon's private life to the screaming popes, truncated torsos and writhing beasts of his corrosive art. Bacon's need, as he put it, to "reinvent the language of paint," remains unilluminated. Photos.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In this very personal memoir, journalist Farson, a longtime friend of the artist, portrays Bacon as a man who spent much of his 83 years among the outcasts of society, exploring the darker sides of London until his death in 1992. Farson's straightforward prose covers the general outline of the artist's life but is weak on those times when the author was out of the picture. Though November 1993 saw the publication of another portrait, Andrew Sinclair's Francis Bacon: His Life and Violent Times (Crown), a definitive Bacon biography covering all aspects of the artist's life and work remains to be written. Recommended for larger academic and public libraries as an interesting glimpse into an extraordinary life.-- Martin R. Kalfatovic, Natl. Museum of American Art/Natl. Portrait Gallery Lib., Smithsonian Inst., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 293 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon (March 22, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679426329
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679426325
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,897,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Anna V. Carroll on March 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I come to the Francis Bacon table very late in life. This year, 2009, marks his 100th birthday.

I remember the first time I saw a Bacon painting. I was totally shocked. Over the years I have not read about him nor cared. A few months ago I came across the British film, LOVE IS THE DEVIL. Rented it, loved it. Really wanted to get to know this artist. Derek Jacobi IS Francis Bacon. What a performance. You must see it for yourself. A young Daniel Craig plays his lover, George. Also an astonishing performance.

That said, I should have read this book before I watched the film. It would have made everything crystal clear for me. The author was a friend of Mr. Bacon over the years and knows where all the bodies are buried, so to speak. There are some nice personal photos of the artist and his friends, boyfriends. And he did have interesting friends and boyfriends!

His art still bothers me for the same reasons it bothers others. He is showing us our dark side. The side of ourselves we would rather not see or deal with. I have come to this conclusion after finally admitting to myself that his artwork is genius. There will be a large retrospective here in NYC this year of his work. I shall be attending it, I assure you.

I re-watched LOVE IS THE DEVIL last night and, because of this book, it meant so much more to me as I watched it unfold. The author obviously wishes he and Mr. Bacon had been closer in the end, but one of Bacon's men friends informed Mr. Bacon that Mr. Farson was writing this book and it deeply upset him. At one time Bacon had agreed to help Mr. Farson write a book of his life, but then changed his mind. So you can imagine how Mr.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book cover to cover without putting it down except to sleep and eat. I love Francis Bacon's art, his manner and his history. He was a true genius, and this biography, which is very good, helps me to understand him and his work. I believe you must get a feel for the artist personally to get his work. Bacon especially. This book is just fascinating, well written and informative.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An interesting read. Written by a contemporary. Biography contains many anecdotes and personal stories. A nice section of photos too.
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