Francis Bacon Cross-legged Figure with Arms Raised, No. 1 c.1957–61

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Artwork details

Artist
Francis Bacon 1909–1992
Title
Cross-legged Figure with Arms Raised, No. 1
Date c.1957–61
Medium Graphite on paper
Dimensions Support: 254 x 190 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund and a group of anonymous donors in memory of Mario Tazzoli 1998
Reference
T07384
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Catalogue entry

T07384

Pencil on white wove paper
253 x 190 (10 x 7 7/16)
Watermarked ‘Telelinen | BRITISH MADE | NO 1 MILL’ upside down across centre
Purchased from Paul Danquah and Peter Pollock with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, the National Art Collections Fund and a group of anonymous donors in memory of Mario Tazzoli, 1998

Provenance:
Acquired from the artist (by 1961)

Exhibited:
Francis Bacon: Working on Paper, Tate Gallery, London, February-April 1999 (37, reproduced in colour)

Both Cross-legged Figure with Arms Raised, no.1 and it companion (T07385) from the same sketchpad, which essentially presents the same image in ink, seem to seek to resolve a preconceived composition. The unusual pose – a curiously variation the Yoga ‘Lotus position’ - formally contrasts the raised arms with the compact horizontal of the legs, even if the drawing is swift and un-detailed. It may be compared to the fallen fighter in another sketch, Collapsed Figure (T07357), in the spiral bound sketchbook acquired from the same collection.

Although the figure is not used in any of Bacon’s known canvases, the pairing of the two very similar drawings gives a good indication of his working development of an image which could be abandoned at any time. Here the pencil sketch was derived from the ink drawing on the page beneath - such tracing is found in the spiral sketchbook[1] - but this was not strictly accurate, and the figure here sits back more into the sofa. The close repetition, however, may also be compared to the pair of Reclining Figure sketches in gouache (Tate Gallery T07353 and T07354), in which the disposition of the figure on a sofa and slight variations in the composition were similarly explored.


Note:
This is one of the sheets from a sketchpad showing perforations along the left hand side and watermarked ‘Telelinen’; general issues relating to their creation and preservation are discussed in the entry on Man on a Bed (T07381).

Matthew Gale
February 1999


[1] E.g. Figure Lying Flat and Figure in Grey Interior (T07365, T07366)

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