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The gilded gutter: inside the lives of Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon

Post-war British painters like Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud are valued as much for their rackety lives as their artistic explorations

By Tanya Harrod   August 2018

Sotheby's employee Chloe Stead holds 'Self Portrait with a Black Eye' by British artist Lucian Freud. Photo: PA

On the eve of Francis Bacon’s 1985 retrospective at the Tate Gallery, the English art critic Michael Peppiatt wrote anxiously about the “excessively philosophico-literary commentary” that he believed Bacon’s art provoked. Perhaps he had in mind the French theorist Gilles Deleuze, whose refreshing if challenging Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation had appeared in 1981. Deleuze had little interest in Bacon’s life. Instead of “gilded-gutter” reminiscences, he sought to connect the…

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