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Michel Leiris

1901 - 1990

Charles Mallison, Michel Leiris in his office at the Musée de l’Homme, 1984. Courtesy of the photographer and Wikimedia Commons.

Michel Leiris was perhaps Bacon’s closest intellectual friend. He was an anthropologist, writer and poet and for much of the twentieth century, Leiris was at the forefront of French intellectual life. He was intimately connected with the Surrealist movement and was also a friend of Picasso’s. During his many visits to Paris, Bacon would often lunch with Leiris who seems to have greatly influenced Bacon’s thinking. He was also the subject of some of Bacon’s paintings, such as Study for Portrait (Michel Leiris), 1978. Leiris would later produce a richly illustrated monograph on Bacon’s oeuvre and he also translated Bacon’s interviews with David Sylvester into French. 

Images
Photograph of Michel Leiris, by Charles Mallison

Charles Mallison, Michel Leiris in his office at the Musée de l’Homme, 1984. Courtesy of the photographer and Wikimedia Commons