Keith Vaughan: Romanticism to Abstraction
Pallant House, Chichester 10 March to 10 June 2011
Keith Vaughan (1912-1977) was a self-taught British painter whose semi-abstract works are inspired by landscape and by his feelings for men. His colour schemes use the khaki, forest green and airforce blue that so suits the British countryside. His work is tough and attractive, quite free of the soft-centred whimsy that infects some British painting of the time. Wikipedia says: “Vaughan is also known for his journals, selections from which were published in 1966 and more extensively in 1989, after his death. A gay man troubled by his sexuality, much of what is known about him is through those journals. He was diagnosed with cancer in 1975 and committed suicide in 1977 in London, recording his last moments in his diary as the drugs overdose took effect.”
Lucian Freud Portraits
National Portrait Gallery, London to 27 May 2011
Freud (1922-2011, grandson of Sigmund) used to paint in thin glazes, but regrettably he moved away from his early meticulous style to a thicker impasto technique inspired by Francis Bacon. He is famous for his psychologically truthful portraits and merciless portrayals of naked human flesh. But I feel he was better at buildings than bodies. He was very good-looking when young and is estimated to have 40 children. Apart from some penetrating late self-portraits, I prefer his portrayals of whippets, rubber plants, trench coats and views from back windows. He and his brother Clement didn’t speak for years.