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O Here Comes the Seafaring Man (1950)

Jeff Keen

collage, ink and crayon

Brighton & Hove Museums (Brighton Museum & Art Gallery and Hove Museum of Creativity)

O Here Comes the Seafaring Man (1950)





Paper, Ink, Crayon


46 x 59 cm


Presented by the Contemporary Art Society, 2013

Ownership history:

Purchased from Kate MacGarry, London by the Contemporary Art Society, 2013; presented to Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, 2013
O Here Comes the Seafaring Man, 1950 is a particularly evocative and allusively cinematic example of Keen’s early collage work. It was through collage that Keen found a crucial stepping-stone between art and film. This work shows a sailor in search of the carnivalesque pleasures on offer in a seaside town. Keen combines a surrealist drawing style (typical of his early drawings from the 1940s) with cut outs from magazines, to create a playful and humorous depiction of human desire.

Keen spent most of his artistic career in Brighton. The collage connects to Brighton Museum’s existing Surrealist works, to their depictions of Brighton as a sea-side resort, and to Brighton Museum’s early cinema and optical toys collection. The acquisition of Jeff Keen’s work for Brighton Museum will enable the gallery’s curators to conceive of new areas of collecting within Post-War British art, the international avant-garde, and more contemporary multi-media practices.

Brighton Museum & Art Gallery has a small but growing collection of modern and contemporary works. It is particularly strong in Surrealist design with works such as Salvador Dali’s iconic Mae West sofas. One of the more hidden strengths at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery is the social history collection of ephemera relating to the Brighton experimental film-makers of the early twentieth century.

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