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Two Figures on a Bed 1953

Bacon's artistic inclinations in the 1950s moved towards his abstracted figures which were typically isolated in geometrical cage-like spaces, and set against flat, nondescript backgrounds. Bacon said that he saw images "in series", and his work typically focused more on a single subject for sustained periods, often triptych or diptych formats. Although his decisions might have been driven by the fact that in the 1950s he tended to produce group works for specific showings, usually leaving things until the last minute, there is significant development in his aesthetic choices during the 1950s which influenced his artistic preference for the represented content in his paintings.

An imaginary curtain gives this painting a chapel-like space. The painting was last exhibited at the Grand Palais in Paris in 1971. Two men make love on a bed that's a sea of crumpled white sheets. As they do it, they look out of the canvas at us - but their faces are distorted, blurred. They might even be grinning at us, gleefully showing off  their crime.

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