by Andrea Rosen, Curator of Under the Surface.
The Portrait of Thomas Bacon exemplifies striking compositional strategies that invite close, slow looking. Between the two poles of the composition—the subject of the portrait in the lower third and a tear in the backdrop at the top—are at first indecipherable marks, which turn out to be the marks of a boot-heel. Nothing is known about the subject Thomas Bacon except his name, though it was likely that he was a model or a dancer. After encountering surrealism in Paris in the mid-1920s, George Platt Lynes settled in New York, where he made a career of portrait, fashion, and dance photography, often inflected with a surrealist aesthetic.
George Platt Lynes (American, 1907–1955)
Portrait of Thomas Bacon, ca. 1938
gelatin silver print
Museum Purchase 1989.69
© Estate of George Platt Lynes