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The Gilded Gutter Life Of Francis Bacon: The Authorized Biography [Paperback]

Daniel Farson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.99
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Book Description

20 Jan 1994
Widely regarded as the best British painter since Turner, very little is known about Francis Bacon's life. In this, the first-ever book to be written about him, Daniel Farson, friend and confidant to Bacon for over forty years, gives a highly personal, first-hand account of the man as he knew him. From his sexual adventures to his rise from obscurity to international fame, Farson gives us unique insight into Bacon's genius.

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The Gilded Gutter Life Of Francis Bacon: The Authorized Biography + The Brutality of Fact: Interviews with Francis Bacon
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Product details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (20 Jan 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099307812
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099307815
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 150,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"The most fascinatingly provocative, intimate study of an artist I have ever read" (Patrick Skene Catling Evening Standard)

"It preserves precisely the aspects of Bacon that will be hardest for scholarly researchers to capture... no-one can convey better than Farson the fun of Bacon's company and the louche adventures of the Soho underworld" (Lynn Barber Independent on Sunday)

"Positively Runyonesque...well-written, entertaining, and above all, thought-provoking" (David Mellor Daily Telegraph)

"Startlingly revealing" (Times Literary Supplement)

Book Description

Reissue of a classic work about one of Britain's greatest painters.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A slim paperback memoir from the late Dan Farson. Friend or atleast drinking buddy of Francis Bacon. Dan was there from the early days when Bacon appeared in Soho until the end. Perhaps various assosiates of Bacon could have written this book, because I believe that's what Farson was, a drinking companion. Years ago I heard about Farson from a relative who's friend used to drink with him. Alcohol was glue that held everything together.

Farson tells his experiences of Bacon as they were in an oridinary manner, which makes this book even more charming. Even though Dan was a journalist, he didn't get bogged down with the arts world view on Bacon. More so we hear about Bacon the person, his charm, his caring and sharing manner. As you can imagine Dan also talks about all the main places and players on the Soho scene. Yet what you are left with is that Farson really cared for Bacon, more of a friend than Bacon maybe realised. A great book, a worthwhile purchase.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Less gutter than I had expected. 23 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I first heard of this book in the late nineties, when I picked up Farson's excellent autobiography in a library (remember them?). However it was hard to find, and the sensational title slightly put me off. Now that everything seems to be available again, I bought it on a whim last Christmas. I was not disappointed. Farson writes well, like the professional journalist he was, and mercifully the book is less scandalous than I had feared. In fact it serves as a highly readable general introduction to the paintings and personality. Plus a guide to the rather intoxicating 'Carry on Soho' of the French Pub and Colony Rooms and all the characters- John Deacon, Bruce Bernard, Henrrietta Moraes etc- of that post-war period. I was never entirely convinced that Farson knew Bacon that intimately- he had a vested interest in exaggerating his friendship to justify a thirst-quenching advance. As a result the book rarely catches fire- the structure is all too chronological, and it would have been more compelling to have begun with the pivotal relationship between Bacon and George Dyer, and work backwards and forwards from his suicide on the eve of a prestigious award. Once an artist achieves the status of Francis Bacon- somewhere between religious faith and, to the investors, maintaining the value of a currency, it becomes impossible to evaluate his paintings objectively, and Farson does not try to. Instead, at least in the last few chapters, you start to feel you are getting a little closer to the man.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fried Eggs 25 May 2014
By Ismael
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Marvellous account of the life loves and misdemeanours of Bacon by someone who was very close to him. The book gives you a real feel for Bacons driving force of living life to the full and hang the consequences regardless of who he upset, a real helper skelter of a ride for himself, his friends and his enemies.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The curse of creativity 2 Aug 2010
By Zak
The paintings of Francis Bacon have always stood out in the crowded museums and galleries, galleries that are stuffed full of mediocre British paintings.

Daniel Farson gives a personal view of his (if only in his own mind) `friend's' chaotic debauched life, gay lovers, masochistic beatings and `bits of rough'. This is in no way a proper critical view of this painter's life, is is merely a tabloid's view, scandalous, shallow and sometimes pathetic. It is a fantastic read!

The storytelling is random and underscored with Farson's deep bitterness - I think he wanted to be a bigger player in this game.

Bacon's early life, which sounds positively hideous, the days in Berlin, Paris and the buggering about on the coast. The deep depression and the sex driven, drink driven highs are all in The Gilded Gutter Life of Francis Bacon. Well worth reading.
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