Provenance: The Artists daughter, Canada.
Exhibited: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Morley College London, 28 October -23 November 2016, cat 141.
Literature: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Edited by Sacha Llewellyn & Paul Liss, July 2016, cat 141, page 182.
As Commanding Officer of the Lorne Scots during WW2 Keene witnessed the bombing of Liverpool and London. According to an article in the Evening Standard (May 29, 1942), his paintings, including a vivid incendiary bomb picture were included in the National Gallery show of May 1942. His obituary (Oakville, 8 May 1972) reported, While in England Col. Keene did some paintings of the air raids and these were later purchased by the British government. Some of his wartime paintings were also sold to the Canadian government.
Favouring nighttime views, (illuminated by searchlights, fires and bombs) his pictures are often characterised by a surreal feeling, heightened by the use of shallow perspectives and intense colours.
NELSON WONDERS; TRAFALGAR SQUARE, LONDON, 1940;
Canadian War Museum
"The Awakening"; Liverpool. May, 1941.
The Battle of Britain (10 July – 31 October 1940) has been described as the first major campaign to be fought entirely by air forces. Stationed at Tweedsmuir Camp (Surrey) Keene would have witnessed many of the of aeriel combats that took place over Southern England.