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Francis Bacon: The Story Of His Life

Told for the first time in graphic novel form, the story of Francis Bacon’s life is as complex, colourful, and highly charged as his paintings.

Separated into thematic and chronological sections, this novel highlights the prevailing influences of Bacon’s life and times: his early autodidacticism and estrangement from his family; his struggles to make his way as a surrealist painter and his destruction of his early work. It traces his gradual success in postwar Europe, his powerful and often violent romantic relationships, his foray into portraiture, and his never-ending search for subject matter and meaning in his work. Alternating between full-page illustrations and smaller, captioned works, Portolano imagines not only the known details of Bacon’s biography, but also his inner life—the dreams, fears, and obsessions that were equally formidable underpinnings of his oeuvre. Drawn in shades of mauve, red, yellow, and blue that distinguished his palette, these illustrations weave together a troubling but compassionate narrative, one that draws on the tragic events of Bacon’s childhood and youth, as well as reflecting the profoundly passionate yearnings of the artist he became. Woven together with historical facts and figures, this graphic novel reconstructs a life as only a cartoonist could—image led, thoughtfully composed, and deeply evocative of its subject matter.

CRISTINA PORTOLANO designs comics and illustrations for books, magazines, websites, and other mediums. She has written and illustrated numerous books for children and adults, including Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls and Post Pink: An Anthology of Feminist Comics. She lives in Bologna, Italy.


Prestel is a leading independent publisher of books on art history, architecture, design, photography, fashion and children’s books. From pop culture and major exhibition catalogues to retrospectives and career-defining works, quality reigns throughout.

March 11, 2022
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