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Triptych, May-June 1973

Triptych, May-June 1973

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One of the triptychs. This oil-on-canvas was painted in memory of Bacon's young lover, George Dyer. It is a portrait of the moments before Dyer's death from an overdose of pills while sitting on a toilet in their hotel room. This triptych series is one of three Black Triptychs Bacon painted when confronting Dyer's death.

Bacon was haunted and preoccupied by Dyer's loss for the remaining years of his life and painted many works based on both the actual suicide and the events of its aftermath. He admitted to friends that he never fully recovered, describing the 1973 triptych as an exorcism of his feelings of loss and guilt.

The work is stylistically more static and monumental than Bacon's earlier triptychs of Greek figures and friends' heads. It has been described as one of his "supreme achievements" and is generally viewed as his most intense and tragic canvas.

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