Wed, 10 February 2021

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm GMT

Francis Bacon – Revelations

Annalyn Swan and Mark Stevens In Conversation With Belle Donati

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With unrivalled access to the archives and the full co-operation of the Bacon estate, critics Annalyn Swan and Mark Stevens have produced the definitive biography of the seminal artist.

He was an artist who believed in chance and paradox: the iconoclast eventually became an icon.

Like his literary contemporaries Sartre, Beckett and Camus, Francis Bacon captured the alienation, helplessness and existential despair of the post-war European nightmare; and like them became a celebrity with pop gravitas, surrounded by devotees who treated him as a modern saint.

Bacon resisted serious efforts to write about his life; partly because he wanted to control his image, but also because he kept a secret: one that had nothing to do with sex, fame, glamour, violence, money or art.

It was Bacon’s secret that he was not just a radical master of the twentieth- century stage who exulted in the dark arts. He was simultaneously an Englishman suffused with longing for the ordinary patterns of joy and solace denied him as a child and young man.

Authors of the first major Bacon biography in twenty-five years drawn from extensive new material from Ireland, Tangier, Spain, England and France, Pulitzer Prize winners Annalyn Swan and Mark Stevens join us to present a startlingly original portrait – rich, complex, and subtle – of a commanding modern figure.

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Annalyn Swan

Editor and Pulitzer-Prize Winning Biographer

Annalyn Swan is the former arts editor of Newsweek and an award-winning music critic. She teaches biographical writing at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York as well as at the Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English. Stevens and Swan won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle award for their biography de Kooning: An American Master.

Mark Stevens

Art Critic and Pulitzer-Prize Winning Biographer

Mark Stevens has been the art critic for Newsweek, The New Republic and New York magazine and has also written for the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and the New York Times.

Belle Donati

News Anchor and Arts Presenter

Belle Donati is a news anchor and arts presenter. She helped launch NBC-Euronews in 2018, anchoring the new channel’s flagship breakfast show Good Morning Europe. Previously, Belle worked at France 24 English as an anchor, as well as Al Jazeera English, ITV and BBC Radio 4 as a Producer. As a Culture Correspondent for Reuters, she reported on stories ranging from David Bowie’s death to refugee theatre projects on the Syria-Lebanon border.