The Gilded Gutter Life of Francis Bacon
The Authorized Biography
By (author) Daniel Farson
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Gilded Gutter Life of Francis Bacon by Daniel Farson
Book DescriptionWidely regarded as the best British painter since Turner, very little is known about Francis Bacon's life. In this, the first-ever book to be written about him, Daniel Farson, friend and confidant to Bacon for over forty years, gives a highly personal, first-hand account of the man as he knew him. From his sexual adventures to his rise from obscurity to international fame, Farson gives us unique insight into Bacon's genius.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780099307815
(198mm x 129mm x 13mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 20-Jan-1994
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
UK Kirkus Review » Arriving in London a green young gay from a horsy Irish background, Francis Bacon proceeded to revolt the philistines and electrify the art world. He died leaving 11 million to his steady lover. Mr Farson, who revelled in his company for 40 years - 'revelling' seems the operative word here - recalls their Soho stamping-ground, Nina Hamnett, the French Pub et al, and the bubbly bitchy fall-out from the artist's circle. (Kirkus UK)
US Kirkus Review » "Gilded gutter life" means rough but rich trade among gays, and Farson thus identifies the sex life of the English painter Francis Bacon (1909-92) with his work - which many think of with sheer horror. Farson (The Man Who Wrote Dracula, 1976; the fictional Swansdowne, 1987, etc.) was friends with Bacon for 40 years, and he intends a memoir here, not a biography, although the latter is charcoaled in amid the gay barhopping. Born in Dublin around the corner from Oscar Wilde's birthplace, Bacon was so wildly and ingeniously wise that his life seems secondary to his table talk, as captured here and in David Sylvestre's 1975 Interviews. Though eventually very wealthy, Bacon dismissed material possessions, lived in reclusive squalor, thought posterity was rubbish, and - to the outsider - seemed to project some ghastly self-hatred upon the monstrously distorted humans in his canvases. Bacon could paint as literally as anyone, was bored by mere likeness, and set out to distort reality into reality. He'd paint from photos rather than hurt the feelings of subjects who sat for him, then saw themselves "damaged" by his distortions. Says Farson: "He...was totally amoral. He had little time for weakness in others and no patience with human foibles or small vanities. He was easily bored.... Even if he had not become a painter his personality was so original that he would have made an impression on his time." When his father found him dressing up in his mother's underwear at 15, he was shipped off to London to live alone on three pounds a week. Completely irreligious, he said he painted death as the shadow of life because he loved life so greatly. A physical masochist, a mental sadist, he offered as his favorite saying: "We are meat. Cheerio!" Like crawling in a tub of dead fish - but a great read. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Daniel Farson
The son of the legendary American foreign correspondent, Negley Farson, Daniel became the youngest ever Parliamentary and Lobby Correspondent in the House of Commons aged 17. While working as a photographer for Picture Post, he drifted into Soho and at the age of 23 met Francis Bacon. He 'stumbled' into television in the early days of ITV becoming a leading interviewer with his own series. Then in 1964 on a sudden impulse, Daniel Farson abandoned television and Soho for the house left him by his parents in North Devon - 'in order to find out if I could write'. Subsequent books include his bestseller Jack the Ripper, The Man Who Wrote Dracula, a biography of his great-uncle Bram Stoker; the historical novel Swansdowne on convicts sent to Tasmania; books on Turkey; and several which combine his photographs with his reminicences: Soho in the Fifties; Sacred Monster; Escapades; Limehouse Days; Gilbert & George in Moscow. Daniel Farson died in 1997.
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