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Triptych August 1972 (right panel) - Signed Print by Francis Bacon 1989 - MyArtBroker

Triptych August 1972 (right panel)
Signed Print

Francis Bacon


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Lithograph, 1989
Signed Print Edition of 180
H 66cm x W 48cm

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Meaning & Analysis

Created in the year following the death of George Dyer, Triptych August 1972 is an homage to Bacon's longing and regret for the loss of his lover and companion. Triptych August 1972 (right panel) is a self-portrait in which Bacon confronts his loss and gives the viewer a direct gaze into his face, which is evidently pained with guilt. Bacon met Dyer at the end of 1963 in one of Soho's pubs, and the pair's lives became instantly intertwined. Born into a family of organised crime and debauchery, Dyer was a troubled gang-associated man who, unsurprisingly, piqued the interest of Bacon's psychologically penetrative imagination. Throughout their tumultuous relationship, Bacon painted Dyer numerous times, but Triptych August 1972 (right panel) betrays Bacon's grief after Dyer's untimely death. Just one day before Bacon's solo show at Paris' Grand Palais in October 1971, Dyer's body was discovered slumped over the toilet of his hotel suite.

Though Bacon pronounces the musculature of his solid and lively form, his left shoulder appears cast in shadow, which merges with the tall void in the background. Unlike Dyer's figure in Triptych August 1972 (left panel), which fades into a ghostly nothingness, Bacon's appears spliced by this shadow to signify the loss of an important part of his being. Likewise, Dyer's gaze is pointed across the panels of the triptych towards Bacon, desperately longing for his attention. This gaze, however, is not returned by Bacon. Instead, he painted himself head-on, contorting his face to reveal the torture of his loss. To the right of his figure, a fleshy shadow pools onto the floor, which is mimicked in Triptych August 1972 (left panel), like a ghost of the relationship that bound the two together in life. Much like its companion panels, Triptych August 1972 (right panel) is thus one of Bacon's most psychologically poignant and immersive works, relaying the artist's loss, grief, and guilt during this cataclysmic year of his life.

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