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Triptych, May–June 1973

Triptych, May–June 1973 is a triptych completed in 1973 by the Irish-born artist Francis Bacon. The oil-on-canvas was painted in memory of Bacon's lover George Dyer, who committed suicide on the eve of the artist's retrospective at Paris's Grand Palais on 24 October 1971; the triptych is a portrait of the moments before Dyer's death from an overdose of pills in their hotel room. Bacon was haunted and preoccupied by Dyer's loss for the remaining years of his life and painted many works based on both the actual suicide and the events of its aftermath, he admitted to friends that he never recovered, describing the 1973 triptych as an exorcism of his feelings of loss and guilt. The work is stylistically more static and monumental than Bacon's earlier triptychs of Greek figures and friends' heads, it has been described as one of his "supreme achievements" and is viewed as his most intense and tragic canvas. Of the three Black Triptychs Bacon painted when confronting Dyer's death, May–June 1973 is regarded as the most accomplished.

In 2006, The Daily Telegraph's art critic Sarah Crompton wrote that "emotion seeps into each panel of this giant canvas... the sheer power and control of Bacon's brushwork take the breath away". Triptych, May–June 1973 was purchased at auction in 1989 by Esther Grether for $6.3 million a record for a Bacon painting. Francis Bacon met George Dyer in a Soho pub. According to Bacon "George was down the far end of the bar and he came over and said'You all seem to be having a good time, can I buy you a drink?'". From that point on, Dyer became devoted to Bacon, he was in awe of his self-confidence. He felt. Dyer was about thirty years old and had grown up in the East End of London in a family steeped in crime, he had spent his life drifting between juvenile detention center and jail. Typical of Bacon's taste in men, Dyer was fit and not an intellectual. Bacon's relationships prior to Dyer had all been with older men who were as tumultuous in temperament as the artist himself, but each had been the dominating presence.

Peter Lacy, his first lover, would tear up the young artist's paintings, beat him up in drunken rages, leave him on the street half-conscious. Bacon was attracted to Dyer's trusting nature. Dyer was impressed by Bacon's self-confidence and his artistic success, Bacon acted as a protector and father figure to the insecure younger man. Dyer was, like Bacon, a borderline alcoholic and took obsessive care with his appearance. Pale-faced and a chain-smoker, Dyer confronted his daily hangovers by drinking again, his compact and athletic build belied a inwardly tortured personality. Their behaviours overwhelmed their affair, by 1970, Bacon was providing Dyer with enough money to stay more or less permanently drunk; as Bacon's work moved from the extreme subject matter of his early paintings to portraits of friends in the mid-1960s, Dyer became a dominating presence in the artist's work. Bacon's treatment of his lover in these canvasses emphasises his subject's physicality while remaining uncharacteristically tender.

More than any other of the artist's close friends portrayed during this period, Dyer came to feel inseparable from his effigies. The paintings gave him stature, a raison d'être, offered meaning to what Bacon described as Dyer's "brief interlude between life and death". Many critics have cited Dyer's portraits as favourites, including Michel Leiris and Lawrence Gowling, yet as Dyer's novelty diminished within Bacon's circle of sophisticated intellectuals, the younger man became bitter and ill at ease. Although Dyer welcomed the attention the paintings brought him, he did not pretend to understand or like them. "All that money an' I fink they're reely'orrible", he observed with choked pride. He soon descended into alcoholism. Bacon's money allowed Dyer to attract hangers-on who would accompany him on massive benders around London's Soho. Withdrawn and reserved when sober, Dyer was insuppressible when drunk, would attempt to "pull a Bacon" by buying large rounds and paying for expensive dinners for his wide circle.

Dyer's erratic behaviour wore thin—with his cronies, with Bacon, with Bacon's friends. Most of Bacon's art world associates regarded Dyer as a nuisance—an intrusion into the world of high culture to which their Bacon belonged. Dyer reacted by becoming needy and dependent. By 1971, he was only in occasional contact with his former lover. In October 1971, Dyer accompanied Bacon to Paris for the opening of the artist's retrospective at the Grand Palais; the show was the high point of Bacon's career to date, he was now being described as Britain's "greatest living painter". Dyer was now a desperate man, although he was "allowed" to attend, he was well aware that he was "slipping", in every sense, out of the picture. To draw Bacon's attention he earlier planted cannabis in Bacon's flat phoned the police, he had attempted suicide on a number of occasions. Dyer committed suicide, via an overdose of barbiturates, on the eve of the Paris exhibition in their shared hotel room. Bacon spent the following day surrounded by people eager to meet him.

In mid-evening he was informed that Dyer was dead. Though devastated, Bacon continued with the retrospective and displayed powers of self-control "to which few of us could aspire", acco

Clarence D. Lester

Clarence D. “Lucky” Lester was an African-American fighter pilot in the 332nd Fighter Group known as the Tuskegee Airmen, during World War II. He was one of the first African-American military aviators in the United States Army Air Corps, the United States Army Air Forces and the United States Air Force. Lester was one of two pilots who shot down three Focke-Wulf Fw 190 or Messerschmitt Bf 109 on a single mission. Lester flew a P-51 Mustang nicknamed "Miss Pelt." The Tuskegee Airmen is the popular name of a group of African-American military pilots who fought in World War II. They formed the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group of the United States Army Air Forces; the name applies to the navigators, mechanics, crew chiefs, nurses and other support personnel. Lester recalls that "Being a black pilot in the 1940s was like being a pro athlete today... We knew; this was the first chance blacks had had outside of working in the kitchen or the possiblity of being a truck driver." White pilots would fly around 50 combat missions but because there were no replacements, black pilots of the Tuskegee Airmen flew around 70 missions.

During the war he flew over 90 combat missions. While flying an F-84E Thunderjet it experienced mechanical failure and exploded into flames forcing Lester to yank his ejection seat and parachute from the inflamed jet, which made him "only the sixth pilot to use the ejection method." In his career he worked with the infamous "Whiz kids" that Robert McNamara assembled at the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In 1969 Lester retired as a full colonel and was appointed as associate director of social services in Rockville, Maryland. Notes References Campbell, Crispin Y.. "Black Pilots Of'40s Charted New Horizons". Washington Post. Retrieved May 6, 2018. Find a Grave. "Col Clarence D. "Lucky" Lester". Find a Grave. Retrieved May 6, 2018. Gubert, Betty Kaplan. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9781573562461. - Total pages: 319 Hardesty, Von. Black Wings: Courageous Stories of African Americans in Aviation and Space History. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780061261381. - Total pages: 180 Homan, Lynn. Black Knights: The Story of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Pelican Publishing Company. ISBN 9781455601257. - Total pages: 336 Nalty, Bernard C.. Strength for the Fight: A History of Black Americans in the Military. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9780029224113. - Total pages: 424 United States Air Force. "Tuskegee Airman gives account of'lucky' day". United States Air Force. Retrieved May 6, 2018. Viera, Bené. "This black fighter pilot broke all kinds of records. He doesn't have a Wikipedia page". Timeline.com. Retrieved May 6, 2018