Keith Vaughan: Romanticism to AbstractionKeith Vaughan: Romanticism to Abstraction


Keith Vaughan (1912–1977)

This exhibition marks the centenary of the birth of the British painter Keith Vaughan (19121977). Born in the nearby Sussex village of Selsey, Vaughan was one of the most significant artists of his generation, best-known for his paintings of figures in the landscape that have been seen as an expression of the human condition in the post-war age.

Self-taught as an artist, Vaughan studied at Christ’s Hospital school at Horsham, before working as a designer for Lintas, the advertising arm of Lever Brothers, which informed his strong sense of composition. Although he was grouped with the ‘Neo-Romantic’ artists during the 1940s, Vaughan was an independent figure in the British art world, and an influential tutor at Camberwell School of Art, the Central School of Art and Design and the Slade. Literature and European art had a powerful influence on him, particularly the work of Cézanne, Picasso, Matisse and Nicholas de Staël. He kept a moving journal in which he frankly recorded his thoughts on art, his homosexuality, and struggles with depression, which ended with his tragic suicide.

The exhibition includes loans from public collections including the Arts Council Collection, Bradford Museums and Galleries, the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull, the Government Art Collection, Leicestershire Council Art Collection, the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Southampton City Art Gallery, and Worthing Museum and Art Gallery, as well as many private collections to whom we are indebted. The exhibition has been curated by Simon Martin, Head of Curatorial Services at Pallant House Gallery.

There is a programme of talks, tours and workshops relating to the exhibition.