Muriel Belcher is of course included in this project. He knew her for a long time. When she opened her private drinking club in 1948, this lesbian activist paid Francis to bring his homosexual male friends.
Muriel is not a beauty but that does not discourage Francis who does not seek eroticism in women but empathy. Why does he display her seated in the nude on a disordered sofa ? Did she play for Deakin such a prudish attitude with carefully crossed legs hiding the sex?
This oil on canvas 165 x 142 cm simply titled Seated woman was painted in 1961. It was sold for € 13.7 million including premium by Sotheby's on 12 December 2007. It is now estimated $ 25M for sale by Phillips in New York on May 14, lot 33.
This uncommon personality was also authoritarian and bad tempered. Above her uninteresting and unappealing nude body, Francis showed the old-fashioned hair parted in the middle, the prominent chin and the bushy eyebrows in a cubist composition of two mingled profiles.
The clear face is encircled by the hair and the shade of cheeks and chin, building the shape of a heart or of an apple with its stalk, a surprising way found by the artist to encode his friendship with his former sponsor. Francis Bacon will never stop surprising us.