How Bacon Starved for Art

The Guardian Online reports that he was one of the 20th century's greatest artists, whose paintings change hands for more than £40m, but Francis Bacon's early struggle to sell his art became so desperate that he threatened to become a cook or a valet, according to unpublished letters that have just come to light. Bacon, a self-taught artist, was 40 before he gained proper recognition. The letters, dating from the 1940s, reveal that he was frequently reduced to begging for handouts from his dealer, his debts no doubt aggravated by his addiction to gambling. The correspondence, contained in the archives of the Lefevre Gallery in London, is between Bacon and Duncan Macdonald, then its director. It is certain to deepen future biographers' understanding of the artist's struggle to launch his career. Barry Joule, the artist's friend who is now writing a Bacon memoir, said: "I haven't seen these letters before. They're a revelation. I've read everything on him inside out. The struggle is not covered in the biographies and is perhaps overlooked because of the prices paid for his paintings later in his life." In one letter, Bacon reveals his battle to afford basic art tools: "If you know of anyone who will take the risk and supply me with paints, canvas, and the minimum of vittles, think of me. I might make them money. Richard Shone, editor of The Burlington Magazine, which will publish the letters in May, said: "One day a really comprehensive biography of Bacon will be written and these letters will be indispensable." For full source and full article click the Headline. Irish Art