The subject of this triptych lithograph, one of a limited edition, is the death of George Dyer, Francis Bacon’s most famous lover. Dyer was found dead in his hotel room two days before the opening of Bacon’s retrospective at the Grand Palais in 1971. By that time, the two hardly spoke any more, but Dyer continued to rely on Bacon financially.
Originally from the East End, Dyer was an infamous character, who had met Bacon while trying to rob his house. Bacon fell for the uneducated man’s masculinity, and took him in. Whilst Dyer was seen as a novelty amongst Bacon’s circle of friends at the start of their relationship, not long after his arrival he started to attract disapproval. Dyer became an alcoholic, often beating up Bacon, who still loved him.
Their tragic relationship ended abruptly with Dyer’s death, and this triptych displays Bacon’s desperation for his lost love. Its vivid colours, and the distortion of human anatomy, make it one of Bacon’s most dramatic and emotionally charged works.