Francis Bacon was born in Dublin on 28 October 1909, and moved to London in 1925. After a few years travelling on the Continent he returned to London in 1929 and in his Queensberry Mews studio held an exhibition of rugs and furniture that he had designed. In the following year he held a joint exhibition there, with Roy de Maistre, of furniture and paintings. In 1933 Bacon contributed to two group exhibitions at Mayor Gallery, London, and in 1934 held a solo exhibition at Transition Gallery, created for the purpose by Bacon himself in the basement of Sunderland House, London. In a group exhibition at Lefevre Gallery in 1945 he exhibited Three studies for figures at the base of a crucifixion 1944, considered by Bacon to be his first major work.
Bacon was given his first solo exhibition by Hanover Gallery, London, in 1949. During 1950 he contributed to a number of group exhibitions in London and also to the Carnegie International Exhibition in Pittsburgh. His first international solo exhibition was held at Durlacher Brothers, New York, in 1953. In 1954, with Ben Nicholson and Lucian Freud, he represented England at the Venice Biennale, and in 1955 was given his first retrospective exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London. In 1960 Bacon began exhibiting with Marlborough Fine Art, London, with whom he continued to hold regular solo exhibitions.
The Tate Gallery organised a major retrospective of his work in 1962, which subsequently toured Europe, while the following year the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, also organised a retrospective which visited Chicago and Houston. In 1967 Bacon was awarded the Carnegie International Painting Prize. In the last two decades of his life several major retrospectives of his work were held, notably at the Grand Palais, Paris, in 1971, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 1975, the Tate Gallery, London, in 1985, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, in 1990. Bacon died in Madrid on 28 April 1992.