Bacon was born in Dublin to English parents and in the late 1920s spent time in Berlin and Paris before settling in London. It was only after seeing an exhibition of Picasso's work in Paris that he decided to become a painter. Self-taught, he gained some success as a designer of furniture and rugs, but painted comparatively little in the 1930s. Bacon said that painting only became really important to him in about 1945, the date that his triptych of the previous year, Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion (Tate Gallery, London) was exhibited in London. This controversial work served to launch the artist's career.