Francis Bacon (28 October 1909 – 28 April 1992) was an Irish-born British figurative painter known for his bold, emotionally charged and raw imagery. His painterly abstracted figures are typically isolated in glass or steel geometrical cages, set against flat, nondescript backgrounds. Bacon took up painting in his early 20s but worked sporadically and uncertainly until his mid-30s. Unsure of his ability, he drifted as a highly complex bon vivant, homosexual, gambler and interior decorator and designer of furniture, rugs and bathroom tiles. He later admitted that his artistic career was delayed because he spent too long looking for subject matter that could sustain his interest.
Bacon was the subject of two Tate retrospectives and a major showing in 1971 at the Grand Palais. Since his death, his reputation and market value have grown steadily, and his work is amongst the most acclaimed, expensive and sought-after. In the late 1990s a number of major works, previously assumed destroyed, including early 1950s popes and 1960s portraits, reemerged to set record prices at auction. On 12 November 2013 his Three Studies of Lucian Freud set the world record as the most expensive piece of art sold at auction, selling for US$142,405,000, until exceeded by the sale of a Picasso in May 2015.