Bacon met the French author and poet Michel Leiris in 1965, and the latter would become one of the most subtle and astute critics of Bacon's work. The two shared a mutual appreciation of the other's ability, through either written word or visual expression, to articulate their shared interest in mortality and the daily encroachment of death. Their contact was frequent, due to the proximity of Bacon's studio and Leiris's appartment in Paris, and gradually Leiris initiated in Bacon's work a more intense and intimate introspection. Leiris wrote the introduction to the catalogue for the retrospective of Bacon's work held at the Grand Palais, Paris in 1971. In turn, Bacon produced several portraits of the author which seemingly deliberately highlight the cerebral power of the sitter. Bacon also illustrated some of Leiris's writings, such as his influential Miroir de la Tauromachie (see lot 47).