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Poverty of the artist as young man.

Byline: NAOMI McELROY

HE'S one of Ireland's greatest artists and his paintings sell for EUR50 million, but Francis Bacon was once so broke he threatened to quit art and become a cook.

Letters just discovered show the painter, who lost a fortune gambling, was reduced to begging for handouts from his art dealers.

One letter read: "Is it possible to make me a small advance? I am quite broke, and canvas and paints are terribly expensive."

In another he said: "If I can't sell anything or haven't anything to sell, I will get a job as a valet or cook."

Barry Joule, Bacon's friend who is now writing a memoir about him, said: "I haven't seen these letters before. They're a revelation.

"His poverty is perhaps overlooked because of the prices paid for his paintings later in his life."

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Broke... Francis Bacon
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 25, 2010
Words:144
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