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1920s

Despite Bacon’s claim to be ‘a late starter’, by the early age of twenty, he was about to ‘start a shop in London for ultra-modern furniture’ and was active in interior design until the late 1930s. He only gradually shifted his focus towards the Fine Arts. No oil paintings survive from the 1920s but the two works from 1929 are a watercolour and a gouache. Just like his furniture, they are deeply rooted in European Modernism and similar to his rug and screen designs emulate continental artists such as Georgio de Chirico, Jean Lurçat, Fernand Léger and Picasso. Bacon could have seen the originals in context during his trips to Paris from 1927 onwards or absorbed them filtered through British painters Edward Wadsworth, Paul Nash and John Armstrong, who drew inspiration from them for their own work. The elusive spatial settings, including predecessors of Bacon’s infamous ‘space frames’, doors and foliage would be recurring motifs throughout his career.