Keith Vaughan

Leaping Figure

1951

In Tate Britain

Artist
Keith Vaughan 1912–1977
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 914 x 711 mm
frame: 1132 x 927 x 53 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1956
Reference
T00090

Display caption

During the late 1940s Vaughan moved away from working with water-based paints and began to explore the texture and colour of oil paints. In this work he describes a figure in motion, focusing on the curves of the body as it leaps, instead of on the face or identity of the person. Vaughan explained this work as ‘an attempt to evolve a solid and monumental composition out of the transitory and fluid forms suggested by a figure in movement.’ Vaughan often went to the ballet and much of his work focuses on bodies in motion.

Gallery label, April 2019

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Catalogue entry

T00090 LEAPING FIGURE 1951

Inscr. ‘Vaughan 51’ b.r.
Canvas, 36×28 (91·5×71).
Purchased from the artist (Grant-in-Aid) 1956.
Exh: Lefevre Gallery, October 1951 (5); Hatton Gallery, Newcastle, Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds and Nottingham, February–June 1956 (10); Whitechapel Art Gallery, March–April 1962 (124, repr. pl.28).

The artist explained (letter of 12 October 1956) that this was ‘an attempt to evolve a solid and monumental composition out of the transitory and fluid forms suggested by a figure in movement. The painting was approached through a series of drawings.’ One of these drawings, pencil, 5 3/4×4 3/8 in., was exhibited at the Hatton Gallery and elsewhere, 1956 (37), and was sold at Sotheby's, 4 December 1963 (124), bt. Williams.

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

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