Francis Bacon (1909-1992) is widely regarded as the most important painter of the figure in the second half of the 20th century. Bacon is inimitable in his style, and his fatalistic dedication to his work remains enormously influential today. His paintings invariably show contorted figures in strenuous activities. The paint was applied lusciously with brush, rag, and hand to evoke the sensuality of the flesh, but the intensity of the figures came to be interpreted as revealing the psychological upheavals of the subjects in the post-war era of “extreme situations.” As controversy bred an international reputation over a 50-year career, Bacon became one of the most critically discussed artists of his generation. Despite this scrutiny, he managed to keep his working drawings almost completely secret by simply denying that he made them.