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Details
Keith Vaughan (1912-1977)
School House, Yorkshire
signed and dated 'Keith Vaughan 1945' (lower right), inscribed and dated again 'School House/Yorkshire 1945' (on a label attached to the backboard)
gouache, black ink, crayon and wax resist
10¾ x 14½ in. (27.2 x 36.8 cm.)
Provenance
with The American British Art Center, New York, where purchased by Robert Strange-Magé.
with Roy Miles Gallery, London, where purchased by the present owner.

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Lot Essay

School House, Yorkshire, is a typically inventive and intricate early Vaughan gouache. During the war, while stationed in Yorkshire, he depicted country houses near Ashton, Malton and Haselton. Invariably they are set in romantic, over-grown gardens and enclosed by ivy-clad walls (The Rectory Garden, 1944 (see Malcolm Yorke, Keith Vaughan, His Life and Works, pl. 3); Hasleton House, 1945, (see Penguin New Writing, No. 23, 1945); The Walled Garden, 1951, lithograph). The present work contains perhaps more than a hint of a narrative. A boy in school uniform, holding a white handkerchief walks away from a group of scuffling and boisterous companions; the artist leaves us to speculate upon the cause of his ostracism and isolation.

Vaughan employs a limited but harmonious palette of chalky greys and pale blues. War-time rationing meant that few materials of worth were available to Vaughan and his art supplies consisted of little more than 'bottles of ink, two pots of gouache and a few crayons. With these I hoped to be able to recover something of the solidity and depth of oil' (exhibition catalogue, Keith Vaughan, London, Lefevre Gallery, May 1944). His subtle exercising of these materials was influenced by the work of Graham Sutherland, John Piper and Henry Moore. He explained in 1944, that their work revealed to him 'a way of obtaining greater variety and richness from the simple materials to whose use army conditions had confined me' (ibid).

G.H.

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