Annalyn Swan and Mark Stevens on Francis Bacon, with Michael Kimmelman

MAR 23, 2021 | 6:00 PM TO 7:10 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue




March 23, 2021: 6:00 PM-7:10 PM




Leon Levy Center for Biography



A decade in the making, Francis Bacon: Revelations is the first comprehensive look at the life and art of Francis Bacon, one of the iconic painters of the twentieth century--from the Pulitzer Prize-winning authors of de Kooning: An American Master. 

Francis Bacon created an indelible image of mankind in modern times, and played an outsized role in both twentieth century art and life--from his public emergence with his legendary Triptych 1944 (its images "so unrelievedly awful" that people fled the gallery), to his death in Madrid in 1992.

Bacon was a witty free spirit and unabashed homosexual at a time when many others remained closeted, and his exploits were as unforgettable as his images. He moved among the worlds of London's Soho and East End, the literary salons of London and Paris, and the homosexual life of Tangier. Through hundreds of interviews, and extensive new research, the authors probe Bacon's childhood in Ireland (he earned his father's lasting disdain because his asthma prevented him from hunting); his increasingly open homosexuality; his early design career--never before explored in detail; the formation of his vision; his early failure as an artist; his uneasy relationship with American abstract art; and his improbable late emergence onto the international stage as one of the great visionaries of the twentieth century. In all, Francis Bacon: Revelations gives us a more complete and nuanced--and more international--portrait than ever before of this singularly private, darkly funny, eruptive man and his equally eruptive, extraordinary art. Bacon was not just an influential artist, he helped remake the twentieth-century figure.

Annalyn Swan is a former senior arts editor of Newsweek and author, with Mark Stevens, of the Pulitzer prize-winning de Kooning: An American Master. Swan began her career as a writer at Time, then joined Newsweek in 1980 as music critic and subsequently became the magazine’s arts editor.  She taught biographical and memoir writing at Princeton University in 2013, and currently teaches in the Biography and Memoir M.A. program at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, as well as at Bread Load Middlebury School of English.

Mark Stevens is the author, with Annalyn Swan, of de Kooning: An American Master, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005, the National Book Critics Circle prize for biography, and the Los Angeles Times prize in biography. The New York Times named it one of the 10 best books of 2005. Stevens was the art critic for Newsweek between 1977 and 1988 and then moved to The New Republic (1988-95) and New York Magazine (1995-2006). He is the author of a novel, Summer in City (1984), and he has written numerous essays for books, art magazines, and catalogues, most recently an essay for Jenny Saville (Rizzoli, 2018). 

Michael Kimmelman is an author, critic, columnist and pianist—"the most acute American art critic of his generation," in the words of the Australian writer Robert Hughes. He is the architecture critic for The New York Times and has written about public housing, public space, landscape architecture, community development and equity, infrastructure and urban design. He has reported from more than 40 countries and twice been a Pulitzer Prize finalist, most recently in 2018 for his series on climate change and global cities. In March, 2014, he was awarded the Brendan Gill Prize.