Breakthrough

Between 1936 and 1944, Bacon does very little painting. In 1943, he moves into the ground floor at 7 Cromwell Place, South Kensington, London. There in 1944 he paints Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion. He regarded this work as one of his most significant achievements. When exhibited at the Lefevre Gallery in April 1945, this first triptych causes a minor sensation, at least among London’s artistic cognoscenti, and announces the arrival of a radical and challenging artist.

Francis Bacon, Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion (1944) © Tate, London 2017

First broadcast: 9 October 1987. Director: Frank Lords. Producers: Thierry Ardisson and Catherine Barma
© Ina

Site of the Lefevre Gallery in 1945, London (2013)
MB Art Collection.
Ground floor interior, 7 Cromwell Place. Photo: E.O. Hoppé
© The E.O. Hoppé Estate Collection