Catalogue entry


Oil on white wove paper
340 x 270 (13 3/8 x 10 5/8)

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

Acquired from the artist (by 1961)

Francis Bacon: Working on Paper, Tate Gallery, London, February-April 1999 (23, reproduced in colour)

Head is the most abbreviated of the drawings from Bacon’s spiral bound sketchbook. It consists of a handful of lines in black oil paint, which may denote the head and shoulders of a figure with an arm draped over the back of a chair. Several paintings, such as Study for Figure VI, 1956-7 (Hatton Gallery, Newcastle),[1] use a comparable pose but with the shoulders square-on and the sitter’s left arm habitually drawn with a descending smear of paint quite different from the sketch. The reverse of the sheet bears an orange off-print from Figure Lying, no.1 (T07374).

This is one of twenty-six works on paper from the same spiral bound sketchbook showing perforations along the left hand side; general issues relating to their creation and preservation are discussed in the entry on Two Owls, no.1 (Tate Gallery T07355).

Matthew Gale
February 1999

[1] Reproduced in Ronald Alley, Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné and Documentation, London 1964, [p.211], no.123