London, Agnew’s, Keith Vaughan, 15 May – 15 June, 2012 (illustrated in the exhibition catalogue, no. 21);
Bristol, Royal West of England Academy, Drawing On, 21 March – 7 June 2015;
Woking, The Lightbox, Bodies! The Ingram Collection, 21 November 2015 – 31 January 2016;
Woking, The Lightbox, John Minton and the Romantic Tradition, 28 January – 9 March 2017
Before becoming an artist Keith Vaughan worked in advertising. He continued this work until the First World War. During this time he was inspired by Cézanne, Picasso and the French Impressionists. He had very little art education but, left his work in advertising to pursue his painting career. Vaughan’s contact with Graham Sutherland and John Minton during the Second World War involved him in the post-war Neo-Romantic movement. He later developed his work away from this influence concentrating more on figures, increasingly abstract over time. The yellow and brown ochres of the figures silhouetted against the blazing sun in Archers, 1959 express all the tension of anticipated movement.
Vaughan’s remarkable journal (1939–77), inspired by André Gide, reveals the tension in his life and work between intellectual puritanism and unrepressed sensuality. His work can be regarded as an expression of his feelings about the male body. Despite considerable success, including the award of a CBE in 1965, he became increasingly melancholic and reclusive. A gay man troubled by his sexuality, much of what is known about him is through those journals. He was diagnosed with cancer in 1975 and committed suicide in 1977 in London, recording his last moments in his diary as the drugs overdose took effect.
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