At seventy the artist appears ageless, not a day older than in his first self-portrait, painted in 1956. Bacon had begun to make close-up portraits in 1961, filling canvases measuring about a square foot with heads slightly smaller than life-size. Bacon has said "art is completely a game by which man distracts himself," and "the artist must really deepen the game in order to be worth anything at all.
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For nearly 50 years, until his death in 1992 at 82, Bacon worked the fault lines dividing abstraction and representation and sometimes photography, where many contemporary painters from subsequent generations have staked claims of one kind or another…