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Women, either alone or in pairs, were frequent motifs for Colquhoun between 1943 and 1946. Through these figures he conveyed the themes of poverty, old age, isolation and a 'resignation to the human condition'. His tragic subjects seemed poignant and relevant in the aftermath of the Second World War. This was one of a group of paintings Colqhoun exhibited at the Lefevre Gallery in London in 1946. Many critics admired his deft handling of oil paint, rich imaginative colour and confident use of a post-cubist idiom. The latter, in particular, suggested a remarkable understanding of continental avant-garde style at a time when British artists had been isolated from the rest of Europe by war.

September 2004