11 November 2010
Keith Vaughan (1912-1977)
Bathers at Collioure
signed 'Vaughan' (lower right)
oil on board
28 x 49½ in. (71.1 x 125.7 cm.)
Painted in 1958.
R.W. Gray, by whom purchased at the 1958 exhibition, and by descent.
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Exhibition catalogue, Keith Vaughan, London, Whitechapel Gallery, 1962, no. 214, pl. XLIX.
London, Leicester Galleries, Keith Vaughan, June 1958, no. 15.
London, Whitechapel Gallery, Keith Vaughan, March - April 1962, no. 214.
At the turn of the last century, Matisse and the Fauves regularly painted in the sun-bleached Meditteranean town of Collioure. Vaughan's monumental composition stands as testament and homage to both Matisse and Cézanne, the two enduring influences on Vaughan's figure painting. The former's sensuality and the latter's pictorial rigour are fused here into a satisfying pictorial statement. The theme of bathers was at the heart of Vaughan's imagery and a frequently recurrent subject in his canvases.
An assembly of naked, unidentified male bathers are presented to the viewer in clearly defined planes. The foreground figure wades through the shallows and leads us into the composition; in the middle distance a second figure towels himself after a swim. In the background two other bathers relax in the heat of the sun, one dozing and the other reading. The order and rhythm of the composition is carried through into the systematic brushwork and formalised application of Vaughan's pigment.
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