Catalogue entry

T00091 SMALL ASSEMBLY OF FIGURES 1953

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