In the mid-twentieth century, a pioneering group of painters began pursuing new directions in figurative art, investing representations of the human body with unprecedented expressiveness and depth. Among these painters who sought to more accurately capture the truth of human existence were the “School of London” artists, including Francis Bacon, Frank Auerbach, David Hockney, Leon Kossoff, and Lucian Freud, but the tradition also extended beyond this core group of painters to include a larger circle of artists across postwar Britain.
With a focus on studies of the human body, Bar Life illuminates the themes that characterize the movement, placing more than one hundred representative artworks in context with drawings, documents, and photographs that demonstrate important influences. Throughout, the book explores constantly changing processes, as well as the connections—both personal and professional—among many of the artists, as well as with other well-known artists and protagonists of the period, from Marcel Duchamp and Alberto Giacometti to Chaim Soutine and Willem de Kooning.
Presenting more than one hundred works from this powerfully expressive period, Bare Life explores an important chapter of postwar art that has until now been relatively neglected.