Interviews with Francis Bacon (Subsequent)
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Interviews with Francis Bacon (Subsequent) [Paperback]

David Sylvester
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 17, 1988
Ever since its first publication, this book - with its subsequent revised and augmented editions - has been considered a classic of its kind, and that reputation has become worldwide. As a discussion of problems of making art today it has been widely influential not only among artists but among writers and musicians. It has also been seen as the most revealing portrait that exists of one of the most singular artistic personalities of our time. Bacon's obsessive thinking about how to remake the human form in pain finds unique expression in his encounters with the distinguished art writer David Sylvester over a period of twenty-five years. In these masterfully and creatively reconstructed interviews, Sylvester has provided unparalleled access to the thought, work, and life of one of the creative geniuses of our century. With Bacon's recent death, no other work will ever match this achievement.

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Interviews with Francis Bacon (Subsequent) + Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma + Francis Bacon
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson; Subsequent edition (January 17, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500274754
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500274750
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #408,973 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
The most fascinating art related book I have yet read. Never had I expected Bacon to be so open and Frank about his own work. I've read and re-read it and will no doubt do so again. There were obviously very few people Bacon would consider worth speaking to in depth about his art and I'm grateful that David Sylvester was of sufficient calibre in Francis' mind otherwise there would be very little written material other than entertaining anecdotes and misinterpretive reviews etc. I'd like to know if the complete interviews have been published yet?
John White
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable Chronicle of a Tortured Artist September 29, 2003
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Interviews with Francis Bacon" (1987) captures remarkably on paper the tortured mind of the famous British painter (1909-1992). It belongs on the shelf of every Bacon fan and artist, regardless of medium. Nine interviews range from 1962 to 1986, Bacon's fifties through his seventies, in the form of interactive conversations with art historian David Sylvester (British, 1924-2001), ranging from Bacon's frustrated youth to his unique artistic techniques, the meaning of art to the meaning of life. Sylvester cleverly steers toward topics Bacon finds interesting, allowing him to discuss them at length. (Some of the original audio may be sampled at BBC4's website, though this book's text was heavily edited and re-manipulated from those recordings.)
The final chapter is the most biographical. Bacon, 77, recaps his life and career in detail, including his "coming out," at a time homosexuality was illegal in Britain, the relationship with his intolerant father coming to an end as a result. Overall, the book forms a clear portrait of an intellectually restless artist, demonized by the struggle to express satisfactorily the horrific images which constantly stream into his head. There is no overarching structure to the book, thus many interviews cover the same ground different ways, with illuminating results. Bacon's answers usually reinforce or embellish what was said earlier, but he sometimes answers the same question differently over time, demonstrated for example by his increasing dislike for "drink and drugs."
Some themes persist throughout. Chronically anxious and hypertensive, he can never sit still, never relax.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fly on the wall June 12, 2001
There are some writers who are able to capture the essence of an artist through the interview format (James Lord's sitting for Giocometti is one) and in this book David Sylvester plumbs the depths of Francis Bacon's psyche like no other writer to date. Not only is his short book brilliantly executed in drawing out the artistic temperament and the especial qualities that chewed every aspect of Bacon's rich brain, it also allows us to sit back and hear the very personal aspects of Bacon's life, aspects that are occult in his cryptic paintings. This is reportage at its zenith. The big difference here is that Sylvester writes so well that the atmosphere is palpable - as though we were the fly on the wall. Brilliant, just brilliant.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Only the Best October 4, 2002
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The best book by any artist I have read....utterly inspirational for anyone involved in creative endeavors. What's more, you don't have to agree with all of Bacon's forthright opinions. It probably helps to have seen some of his best work in color, as all the reproductions are monochrome. No matter...I have given away more cpoies of this book than I care to remember. Essential.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
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This is the most recent and expanded edition of the book, which by now has become a classic work that really transcends the "interview with a famous artist" label. I own an earlier edition of the book that I have virtually memorized, so the new additions and expansions David Sylvester has included stand out for me, and amplify the original edition considerably. Whether or not you are a fan of Francis Bacon's painting, the book offers Bacon's insights (as well as Sylvester's) on the very nature of creativity, obsession, and what drives artists of any kind (painter, poet, composer, etc.) to devote their lives to their chosen pursuits. Plus, Bacon's rather sulphurous personality and opinions are captured vividly on the page, through Sylvester's obvious freindship and fascination with the man. An absolutely essential, and rather unique book...over the years, I have been amazed at how many people I have met, from all areas of the arts, who have found this work a source of inspiration and endless fascination.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Brutality of Bacon April 7, 2012
By meeah
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was always given to understand that Francis Bacon was notoriously closed-mouthed, especially when it came to his painting technique, unwilling to disclose the origin and meaning of his mysterious and disturbing images. This collection of interviews, however, totally belies that notion, wherever I might have acquired it.

"The Brutality of Fact" is a rich treasure trove gleaned from a series of discussions between the master artist and one of his most perceptive and sympathetic critics. Obviously, this book will therefore be invaluable to those who appreciate Bacon's work, but it is equally invaluable to anyone interested in art, art theory, and the creative process in general.

As an interlocutor, David Sylvester asks the questions you'd want asked; for his part, Bacon is as forthright and forthcoming in answering them as you could hope him to be.

From the images and artists that obsess him to the way he "throws" paint and rubs out images, from the role of chance in both his work and his life to the way he manipulates the accidents he encourages, Bacon seems to be holding nothing back. He speaks plainly of his goal as an artist and what he feels to be the goal of every serious artist: to rework reality by artificial means to create a new vision of the world truer and more intense than anything ever seen before. And he offers an insightful and incisive critique of what he perceives to be the shortcomings of abstract art, which eschews the world of objects altogether, and illustrative realism, which is simply redundant in an era with ample means of mechanical reproduction.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 23 days ago by Mary Ann Randall
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant stuff, if you are like me and love ...
Brilliant stuff, if you are like me and love to wander the minds of your heroes, this is for you.
Published 1 month ago by Keenan Bullington
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good book
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not dazzling
Bacon repeatedly insists he doesn't have a conscious intention in his art but rather works from the unconscious; while important, the concept quickly becomes a tiresome refrain... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Abner Rosenweig
5.0 out of 5 stars Great look into a creative process
This book gave me an even greater appreciation for the master. Bacon talks about his creative process and how he made a masterpiece with his colleague David Sylvester. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Yasamune
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 Fabulous Portriatists
David Sylvester conjures brilliant commentary from Bacon on the magic art of painting. These conversations between art critic and artist are great fun to read and deeply... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Slumming Angel
5.0 out of 5 stars Francis Bacon Interviews
Provides a great window into Bacon's thinking about his art and personal life.
Bacon was a self-taught, artistic genius with a completely different approach to documenting his... Read more
Published on January 5, 2013 by Rick Nelson
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book! Very helpful to artists...
Ususally artists can't talk about their work. Francis Bacon talks, and he is very expressive..This book changed the way I feel and thinking about painting. Read more
Published on July 18, 2010 by Jwoody
3.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly as insightful as I had hoped
To be 100% honest, I'm not sure if I missed something that the other reviewers picked up or not, but I found the interviews with Francis Bacon to be fairly dull for the most part! Read more
Published on September 29, 2008 by M. Nikic
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Interviews with Francis Bacon (Subsequent)
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