The Francis Bacon triptych arrived at my local art museum with much fanfare. What a big name piece! See the triptych together for the first time in decades. See a portrait of a portrait painter, LucianFreud! The press blitz alone was something to see.
The painting? Not so much.
I am not a big Francis Bacon fan. I find his paintings melodramatic in tone with a focus on anger and frustration. Yes, his screaming popes are intense and riveting especially with the fact that he was Irish Catholic and homosexual. I understand he is a notable artist of our time. That doesn't mean I have to love his art.
The work hanging in the museum is "Portrait of Lucian Freud". I see some gorgeous color, expressive brushstrokes, tightly rendered framing, an unrecognizable figure with twisted limbs and a section of a bedframe. Each of the three panels repeats the colors and elements from a slightly different angle. The face is so distorted that without the title, it would be hard for anyone to know it was a portrait of Lucian Freud.
The real and well known portrait painter here is, Lucian Freud. I am a huge fan of his work.
The grandson of Sigmund Freud, Lucian is also a well known artist. His portraits and nudes are wonderful explorations into the depth of colors in skintones and the character of the subject. His layering of color and and the richness is lovely even if his subjects, usually, are not. I feel a searching for understanding in his portraits evoking a mixture of sadness and love. As an art student, I chose to do a pastel rendering of a section of one of his portraits, trying to learn how to layer all those colors into such deep, rich skin tones.
I'd much rather see a portrait by Lucian Freud than Francis Bacon's portrait of him. If the museum put a Lucian Freud on view, that would be great news and worth the fanfare!