British figurative painter known for his bold, grotesque, emotionally charged and raw imagery. Bacon was a bon vivant and gambler who took up painting in his early 20s but worked sporadically and uncertainly until his mid-30s. He drifted as an interior decorator in his 20s and 30s; he admitted that his artistic career was delayed because he spent too long looking for subject matter that could sustain his interest. His breakthrough came with the 1944 triptych Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion, which in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, sealed his reputation as a uniquely bleak chronicler of the human condition. His abstracted figures are typically isolated geometrical spaces, set against flat, nondescript backgrounds.