Probably the best-known student of William Coldstream, Euan Uglow stands out as one of the most important figurative painters of the late 20th century. Arguably it is Uglow and Freud who dominated the late 20th century figurative painting and influenced countless artists. Perhaps it’s due to Uglow’s private nature or that he was more interested in painting than promoting his work, but Uglow does not get the attention that his work deserves. And to add to this, it is very difficult to see originals of his work in the US (though there are some in private collections). For that reason, I was very interested in going to Browse and Darby (the gallery that represented Euan Uglow for most of his career. Please see note below) while in London. Though I didn’t get to see a full-blown Uglow show, I was able to learn a great deal more about him and was exposed to large number of other great artists who were influenced or taught by him. (

Uglow was known for insistently measuring up each picture, so that each brushstroke, as his model Celia Lyttelton has put it, ‘was the result of tireless study, aided by plumblines, calipers, magnifying glasses and rulers’. Such analytical passion was partly inherited from his teacher at Camberwell School of Art (where he studied from 1948-51), William Coldstream, and also from his love of Italian Renaissance painters such as Masaccio, and from painters like Poussin and Cézanne.

In his paintings of female nudes (and still lifes of fruit and, even once, toothbrushes) from the late 1970s onwards, color contrasts are exhilaratingly novel and inventive. In a painting, Mandi (1985-89), the poignant, blanched figure of a girl seen with her head resting serenely in her hands, is set against a piercing emerald green backdrop. Uglow’s perfectionism meant that he rarely finished more than two major oil paintings a year." (
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First Collected by

Matthew Schofield


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