Manner of Keith Vaughan, Figures & Trees -Mid-20th-century abstract oil painting

An original mid-20th-century oil painting, Manner of Keith Vaughan Figures & Trees.

This striking painting typifies Keith Vaughan’s interest in the human figure set in the landscape and in groups of figures and their relationship to each other and to the landscape. Vaughan is known to have sometimes worked on hardboard, and, as in this painting, his compositions would often build up layers of paint and combine linear marks in black with intersecting blocks of demarcated colour. His focus is the male figure, characteristically broad-shouldered, and reduced to essential features. His work is informed by a deeply felt humanism that gives his work universal meaning.

Oil on hardboard.

We acquired the painting with this attribution.

In good condition for its age.
37.6cm x 27cm.

Keith Vaughan has in recent years enjoyed a resurgence in popularity. He was reportedly the best-selling artist at the 2012 British Art Fair, outselling Damien Hirst and Mary Fedden.

Keith Vaughan (1912-1977) was a self-taught artist, who, initially involved in commercial art, went on to teach at Camberwell College of Arts, the Central School of Art and later at the Slade School. Vaughan said, 'for me painting which has not got a representational element in it hardly goes beyond the point of design.'

Vaughan’s own style was individualist; he identified with the Romantic notion of the 'cult of the individual' and his early work was influenced by the postwar melancholy Neo-Romanticism of his friends Graham Sutherland and John Minton. He also drew inspiration from varied literary sources, including William Blake, Franz Kafka and James Joyce – the Romantic, nightmarish and heroic. Later Vaughan came to the Europeans and Cubism, inspired by the more generalised forms of Picasso, and the work of Abstract Expressionists who still used the figure in their compositions.

Vaughan’s work was influenced by the events of his young life and especially those of the Second World War, during which he was a conscientious objector. He was also a prolific journalist, blighted by self-doubt and depression, keeping multiple volumes of writing until the point of his suicide in 1977.

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Product code: JL-272

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