Figure painting and figure sculpture in post-war Britain were decisively influenced by two earth-shattering events; the Holocaust and the Cold War. Anyone who had seen images of the dead or starved inmates of Nazi death camps or even been aware of the devastating effect of nuclear fallout on the human body, could not help but see the human figure differently in the post-war era.
Whether as a victim or as an aggressor, human beings had been somehow diminished. It had become almost impossible for an artist to depict them as healthy, well-balanced individuals. This display features works by important artists from the period such as Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach, John Bellany, Robert Colquhoun and Eduardo Paolozzi.
Image: Francis Bacon, Figure Study I, 1945-1946
© The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved. DACS 2016.