Francis Bacon’s ill‐fated relationship with his lover George Dyer, who died of a drug overdose in 1971, materialised in a series of powerfully imaginative portraits. In the following decades Bacon painted his likeness with a fervour that bordered on obsession, culminating in the famed painting ‘Portrait of George Dyer Riding a Bicycle’, produced in 1996 and turned into a series of giclée prints by HENI in 2015. This artwork confronts, exorcises and commemorates Dyer’s death, with some critics considering it the pinnacle of Bacon’s career.

In this portrait, Dyer’s distorted features seem to dissolve within the flat background rendered in a grim colour palette of dull shades of brown. Bacon represents Dyer as surrounded by a broad shadow, which seems to assume the formless shape of a ghostlike mass of flesh. Bacon’s mourning emerges through fluctuations of darkness and light, which manifest his guilt when confronted with the tragedy of death.

Dyer’s portrait is haunted by the awareness of loss and speaks to us about the passage of time and the permanence of death. Bacon himself admitted that this artwork constituted an attempt to exorcise his loss, but, he stated, time did not heal his wounds. His obsession remained unresolved.




198 x 147.5cm


Giclée print mounted on aluminium, framed

Edition Size



Digitally signed & numbered on the reverse


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