Keith Vaughan
Small Assembly of Figures 1951

Artwork details

Keith Vaughan 1912–1977
Small Assembly of Figures
Date 1951
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 559 x 610 mm
Acquisition Purchased 1956
Not on display

Catalogue entry


Inscr. ‘Vaughan/53’ b.l.
Canvas, 22×24 (56×61).
Purchased from the artist (Grant-in-Aid) 1956.
Exh: Leicester Galleries, October 1953 (15); Hatton Gallery, Newcastle, Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds and Nottingham, February–June 1956 (25); Whitechapel Art Gallery, March–April 1962 (148, repr. pl.42).

The artist has written of this picture (12 October 1956) that it is one of a series of compositions employing the male figure and conceived in the classical manner in so far as it depends for its coherence on the logic of its formal and plastic elements. The purposefully non-commital title ‘Assembly’ is intended to suggest, as it were, an echo of the humanist tradition without any longer making reference to any actual historical or mythological theme. The painting began as an Expressionist abstract; the precise disposition of the figures evolved unforeseen from the development of the abstract elements. There were no preliminary drawings.

There are at least seven related oils and watercolour studies. A large ‘Assembly of Figures’ (40×48 in.) is at Manchester City Art Gallery and Mrs A. M. de Neuman owns an ‘Assembly of Figures’ (56×46 in.) of 1952. Between 1953 and 1956 the artist showed five ‘Assemblies’ at the Leicester Galleries.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II

About this artwork