100 Year-Old Bacon

05/20/2009 8:20 AM |


The newest and hopefully, quite possibly the biggest of this summer’s blockbuster museum exhibitions, Francis Bacon: A Centenary Retrospective, opens today at the Metropolitan Museum. In addition to surrealism, some really intense Freudian imagery and a unique mix of figurative and abstract styles that he often turned on himself in tortured self-portraits, Bacon had a knack for real life tragedy.

For instance, when he was in his fifties, the Irish painter started a relationship with a 39 year-old he met when the younger man was robbing his apartment. Seven years later (the night before another Bacon retrospective), his partner committed suicide by overdosing in the hotel room they were sharing. Worse yet, Bacon’s painting of the event (“Triptych, May-June 1973” above), is one of his most famous. The exhibition runs until August 16, but given how dense, dark and disturbing Bacon’s work is, you’ll probably need multiple helpings before you feel completely satisfied.