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Uglow was born in London in 1932. He went to Strand School before studying at Camberwell College of Arts from 1948 to 1950 under William Coldstream. When Coldstream left to teach at the Slade School of Art, University College London (University of London) in 1951, Uglow transferred there as well. In 1954, as a conscientious objector, he began two years in building work and farming. Starting in 1961, he himself was to teach part-time at the Slade School, continuing for many years. His early figurative style adapted a form of planar drawing derived from Alberto Giacometti's work of the 1920s and applied it to a Classical structure, derived from Paul Cézanne, with an intensity of colour unrivalled by his teachers of the Euston Road School. Musicians (1953; London, Tate) reinterpreted the Impressionist theme of figures in a landscape by combining directly observed elements with a deliberately contrived backdrop.
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