11/24/2014 12:38 pm ET Updated Nov 24, 2014

The Francis Bacon mystery: a police visit, the coded painting – and a body in a bath

A hunt has begun to uncover the truth about painter Francis Bacon’s controversial first solo show at a public gallery, put on in London in 1955. It is a search for missing information that is already casting new light on the career of Britain’s most influential modern artist.

While art historians have established a few bare facts – that the police were called in to examine the art, that a key erotic picture was excluded from the official list of exhibits, and that a year later the gay man who organised the show with Bacon was found dead – no further records or photographs survive.

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