Two Figures at a Window, 1953 – the subject of this month’s Catalogue Raisonné Focus – was to be the last unequivocal celebration in paint of Bacon’s love affair with Peter Lacy.
Bacon first met Peter Lacy, a former fighter pilot in the Battle of Britain, around 1952 and they pursued a tempestuous relationship until Lacy’s death in 1962. In the mid-1950s, Lacy moved to Tangier and Bacon made long visits there but generally returned to London.
Except for the louvres to the right, the painting is formed of dark blue, abstract planes and the white, linear geometry of the cube. The central shaft of darkness is interrupted by the head-and-shoulders image of Bacon and Lacy embracing, under the metaphoric tassel.
Excerpt: Martin Harrison, Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné (London: The Estate of Francis Bacon Publishing, 2016 p. 362.)
The painting, which has never been interpreted or written about as autobiographical, transcends the identification of the protagonists to register as a universal – if, for Bacon, exceptional – expression of tenderness. As John Edwards confirmed to Martin Harrison, it was understood among Bacon’s intimates that Lacy had been ‘the love of his [Bacon’s] life’.
Martin Harrison, Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné (London: The Estate of Francis Bacon Publishing, 2016 p. 364.)
It is painted very drily, but random drops of pigment (that presumably occurred by chance in the process of painting) were retained by Bacon. It was first exhibited in ‘New Paintings by Francis Bacon’ at Beaux Arts Gallery, London, 12 November–9 December 1953.
Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné can be purchased through our distributor’s website.