Francis Bacon (1909–1992) said he decided to abandon interior design and take up painting after seeing an exhibition of Picassos Dinard paintings at Paul Rosenbergs Paris gallery in the late 1920s. Picassos representations of the body as bone-like, biomorphic structures revealed to Bacon the possibilities of painting.
Bacon started painting around 1933 but later sought to destroy all his output prior to the 1944 triptych, Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion. The few works that survive from 1933-5 show how he must have been aware of Picassos paintings of figures on the beach, reproduced in Cahiers dArt in 1929. The extended bodies and tiny polyp-like heads are echoed in several pieces by Bacon. He was especially receptive to photographic imagery and a precedent for his triptych could be seen in a sequence of drawings in which the human figure is represented as an abstracted biomorph also reproduced in Cahiers dArt.
As a modern artist concerned with the human figure and the expressive power of its distortion, Picasso remained a key reference point for Bacon. Until Bacons death, Picasso was the only twentieth-century artist he would consider alongside such predecessors as Rembrandt and Velazquez.