Head I

Francis Bacon British, born Ireland

Not on view

Head I is the earliest of the six portrait-format works included in Bacon’s first exhibition at Erica Brausen’s Hanover Gallery, London, in 1949. The artist’s use of white lines to create a box or interior frame within the composition would characterize his work for the next forty years. Bacon here reduces the human form to a snarling mouth with fangs. The heavy impasto creates a texture that has been compared to rhinoceros skin—or, as critic Robert Melville wrote at the time, it has the "color of wet, black snakes lightly powdered with dust."

Head I, Francis Bacon (British (born Ireland), Dublin 1909–1992 Madrid), Oil and tempera on board

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