Euan Uglow

26.05.19 - 01.09.19
Lowres Euan Uglow Ali 1995 1997 private collection 1

This exhibition is over.

Location: Museum MORE, Gorssel

Dutch Museum MORE is dedicating its summer exhibition to British painter Euan Uglow (1932-2000). This is the first time Uglow’s oeuvre will be showcased outside the United Kingdom. A selection of approximately 60 nudes, portraits, still lifes, landscapes and 20 drawings will provide a unique insight into Uglow’s obsessive search for absolute perception.

In consultation with renowned British art historian Catherine Lampert (former director of the Whitechapel Gallery) and with the blessing of the Euan Uglow Estate the museum is keen to celebrate his vigorous yet magical legacy.

Euan Uglow | Self-portrait after falling on nose | 1963 | Ruth Borchard Collection | courtesy Estate of Euan Uglow

Creative director of Museum MORE Ype Koopmans: “Uglow’s radical and experimental oeuvre can easily match the work of his celebrated compatriots Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud. Uglow however, liked to distance himself from the art world – he eschewed stardom – and primarily built a great reputation as a true artists’ artist”. Collectors such as popstar David Bowie and designer Paul Smith nonetheless, bought his art and increased his fame. As did the revelation that Cherie Booth, the then future Mrs. Blair, used to pose for him as a nude model.

The London artist was admired by colleagues because of his structured paintings full of controlled and therefore potent emotion. In love with geometry, Uglow painstakingly painted his subjects, using plumb lines and measuring rods in his studio, aiming ‘for a few magical moments’ in the process. The light had to be perfect, the proportions had to be perfect. His canvas divided in mathematical units. He was convinced his works were never finished, but merely ‘stopped’. For the time being.

Euan Uglow | Curled nude on a stool | 1892-1983 | Hull City Museum and Art Gallery | courtesy Estate of Euan Uglow

Modelling for Uglow was no glamorous task. His models – whether objects or people – often posed for months or years on end. Standing, sitting or bending over in impossible positions. “A terrible commitment, I’m sure, but I can’t go any faster”, Uglow once said. With each new painting his ambition was to achieve absolute perception: “They’ve got to sing better. Each bit of colour has to ring clearly.” A masterly near-invisible brush stroke, construction, Uglow also knew his art history. Mr. Koopmans: “Beyond academic conventions, Uglow built on masters such as Morandi, Poussin and Pierro della Francesca and created a uniquely modern oeuvre with a strong, sculptural and monumental quality”.


Loans from amongst others Pallant House Gallery, The Hepworth Wakefield, Arts Council, Imperial War Museum, British Council, National Museum and Galleries of Wales, Ruth Borchard Collection, Southampton City Art Gallery, King’s College London, Victoria Gallery & Museum Liverpool, Ferens Art Gallery Hull and international private collections.