Our ‘Catalogué Raisonné Focus’ series continues with Three Figures and Portrait, 1975, currently on display in the Bacon, Freud and the School of London exhibition Museo Picasso Málaga, Spain.
The painting combines three images of George Dyer, which all remain discrete entities, with the foreground featuring 'a leering harpy / owl perched on a table' which was 'usually introduced by Bacon as a sign of mockery or malevolence'.
The spine, which is almost coming out of the skin of the left hand figure, can be associated with Bacon's comment on a Degas pastel, After the Bath, Woman Drying Herself (c.1890-95, National Gallery, London). Within it the spine is referenced as having a grip and twist and that 'you're more conscious of the vulnerability of the rest of the body than if he had drawn the spine naturally up to the neck'. [Sylvester, pp.46-47]
The portrait pinned to the wall is that of Dyer with him also represented on the rail to the right where he appears to be either sprouting wings, or as a half-Eumenides, half-angel.
Excerpts: Martin Harrison, FSA. 75-07 Three Figures and Portrait, 1975, Catalogue Raisonné Volume IV, page 1080-1081.
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