Keith Vaughan


Vaughan was born in Selsey Bill, Sussex. He was self-taught, having previously worked as a commercial artist until 1939. Together with Sutherland, Nash and Moore as predecessors, he was inspired by the Neo-Romantic movement that marked the immediate post-war years in Britain. These artists generally responded more figuratively to the English landscape and literary tradition, with idyllic overtones. 


He stood out from his contemporaries however. He confessed to believing himself to be out of step with his times, saying ‘I find echoes in Auden, Beethoven, Cézanne, but in no living person’. Vaughan established a balance between the figurative and abstraction, with the male figure constituting the core of his images. Stylistically he touched mostly upon Cézanne, Matisse and De Stael. However his works represent a lifetime search into the iconography of the human body and its intrinsic qualities. This universal image of man  became a vehicle for the expression of his emotions.


By the 1940s, his visual syntax having been established, the influence of the abstract movement only added to his imaginative verve.  His subject matter reflects a sensitive and self-conscious character as well as a sense of solitude and poignancy.


Vaughan’s work was always highly regarded by the public.  He taught at Camberwell and later at the Central School and was a visiting teacher at the Slade. Today his work is included in almost all exhibitions concentrating on the post-war era. He had many one man exhibitions, his first being in 1944 at Reid and Lefevre.


Vaughan’s work is in collections including the Tate Gallery, Arts Council, Contemporary Art Society, Victoria & Albert Museum, Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, Auckland Museum in New Zealand and the Art Institute of Chicago, amongst others.