Francis Bacon's Work Relied on 'Gimmick'

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2009 1:37 PM CDT
Francis Bacon.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Francis Bacon’s paintings still have the ability to shock, but beneath that initial thrill lies a consistent, even amateur, formula that “had grown stagnant by 1965,” Jerry Saltz writes in New York in previewing a retrospective opening today at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “The calculated pictorial repetitiousness and lack of formal development wear thin.”

Upon review, Saltz writes, “Bacon strikes you not as an artist unafraid of the darkest within himself but as an artist who didn’t go to that source enough.” Most of all, Bacon’s adherence to classical painting technique hampered his ambition. The man who said that “only by going too far can you go far enough” was bettered by abstract painters who “went further” by “giving up all the conventions of painting.” (Read more Francis Bacon stories.)