This is one of the many paintings Bacon made of his friend, the artist Isabel Rawsthorne. He preferred to base such works on photographs of the subject rather than work from life. Intimate knowledge of the sitter was also essential. ‘What I want to do is to distort the thing far beyond the appearance, but in the distortion to bring it back to a recording of the appearance’, he said. Bacon’s subject was the human body but in the early 1960s he began to focus more on the facial features, often isolating them on small single canvases or panels of triptychs.
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