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Between representation and abstraction,
This review is from: Francis Bacon: Five Decades (Hardcover)
"Francis Bacon: Five Decades" is a handsome book which accompanies the exhibition of the same name which ran from November 2012 to February 2013 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Before the main body of the book are four essays which include discussions of Bacon's studio and influences, his connection with Australia and its artists, and the particular affects produced by the work. These essays are followed by large high-quality reproductions of the paintings in the exhibition, each decade (40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s) introduced by a short biographical piece.
There is a lot to like here. I loved seeing the links between Sidney Nolan's work and that of Bacon, for example; enjoyed all the photographs of the artist, his companions, and studio; and appreciated the generousness of the reproductions (in which the texture of the paint comes across beautifully) and short, but illuminating, commentaries.
The left hand side of the page contains the caption, commentary, and any related paintings or images, whilst the right is devoted to the pictures. Triptychs are, unsatisfyingly, presented across a double page which means the centre panel is marred by the fold. This panel is often reproduced on the previous page in full (but not always) which is helpful but also means that it is difficult to appreciate the triptychs as a unity.
Another drawback of the book is that, although there are many wonderful paintings here, there are a number of works which aren't included, presumably because the curators were not able to obtain them for the exhibition. So, for example, we hear about the 'extraordinary' Triptych, May-June 1973 but do not get to see it. I wouldn't have minded this so much if I had known what to expect when ordering the book, but on their website Thames and Hudson give no indication that the book was written as a companion to a specific exhibition.