• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 5389

    20th Century British Art

    16 July 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 68

    Keith Vaughan (1912-1977)

    Demolished Houses in St John's Wood

    Price Realised  


    Keith Vaughan (1912-1977)
    Demolished Houses in St John's Wood
    signed 'Keith Vaughan' (lower right), inscribed and indistinctly dated 'Demolished Houses in St John's Wood/1953' (on a label attached to the backboard)
    pencil, gouache and ink
    6¾ x 5½ in. (17.2 x 13.9 cm.)

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    Apart from his time at boarding school and in the army Vaughan lived all his life within a small area of North London, never more than a mile or two from his childhood home in West Hampstead. After the War he shared a flat for 6 years with John Minton in leafy St. John's Wood, moving to nearby Belsize Park in 1952, to the flat where he lived until his death in 1977. A number of pictures from the late 1940s through the 1950s are based on the dignified urban landscape of his part of London, this being one of the most striking and richly coloured. Here he has exploited the disorganised interplay of light and shadow one experiences in partly demolished buildings to produce a strongly formal image, with walls and windows seemingly floating in space, and involving a degree of abstraction unusual at this stage in his career. We see him here breaking away from the neo-romantic linearity he had imbibed during the 1940s from Blake and Palmer, and more directly from his mentor Graham Sutherland (see lots 64-65), and becoming more interested in engaging with the modelling of three-dimensional forms on the two-dimensional picture surface. In this he reflects his life-long enthusiasm for Cézanne and his Cubist legacy.
    There is a related small oil from 1955 with the slightly changed title of Demolished Houses, St.John's Wood.


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    Saleroom Notice

    Please note the companion piece to this lot is in the Tate Collection entitled Demolished Houses in St John's Wood No.2.