Born in Dublin in 1909, Francis Bacon left home at the age of sixteen for London. He later lived in Berlin and subsequently in Paris. Back in London, in 1930 he began working as a furniture and interior designer, and as a self-taught artist. He was attuned to Cubism and Surrealism. In 1941/1942 he was released from military service because of his asthma and worked in civil defence. In 1942 he destroyed the majority of his works, and it was only in 1944 that he dedicated himself wholly to painting. Success came a short time later. The main themes in his works are man’s isolation and disintegration. From 1949 to 1950 he lived alternately in London and Monte Carlo, where he befriended the painter Graham Sutherland. In 1950 he taught at London’s Royal College of Art. He drew inspiration for his psychologising figurative painting from slaughterhouses, medical books and press photos. Several famous series were inspired by the works of Bosch, Füssli and van Gogh. A series of screaming heads was based on a scene from the film Battleship Potemkin. Eadweard Muybridge’s photographic movement studies served as drafts for his distorted depictions of figures. His first retrospective was presented in London in 1955. Others followed at the Guggenheim Museum and in Berlin’s Nationalgalerie. Bacon died in Madrid in 1992.