Francis Bacon

It's an acknowledged paradox of art history that World War II had a muted impact on the art that followed. Maybe the devastation was too great for mere art to absorb. Only a few postwar artists did work that seemed to carry forward the trauma of the conflict or remember its lessons about the beast just below the surface of civilized man. Of those who did, the greatest was the Anglo-Irish painter Francis Bacon, one of the few artists of his time to produce work that aimed to possess — that did possess — a tragic dimension.

Bacon's...

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