Catalogue entry

T01962 Imaginative Composition-The Tent c.1920–23

Inscribed ‘Bomberg’ b.l.
Oil on paper, 13 13/16×19 3/4 (35.1×50.1)
Presented by Mrs Lilian Bomberg 1975
Coll: Given by Mrs Lilian Bomberg to Mrs Juliet McNeil (now Mrs Juliet Lamont), the artist's granddaughter, c.1957/8; returned in exchange for another work by Bomberg c.1962/3
Exh: David Bomberg, Bloomsbury Gallery, November 1932 (works not numbered); David Bomberg, Leger and Son, November 1943 (41); David Bomberg, Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry, September 1960 (11), dated 1919 (dimensions reversed); David Romberg, Tate Gallery, March- April 1967 and tour (37 as 'The Tent' c.1922, repr. pl.7a); David Romberg and Lilian Holt, Reading Museum and Art Gallery, June-July 1971 (34)

This is one of approximately fifty imaginative compositions which Bomberg painted around 1920. According to Mrs Lilian Bon\herg, the artist's widow, all of these were kept in folders. Several were dated 1920, but few were titled, probably because the folders themselves were marked. T01962 has been exhibited under various different titles, but the artist's granddaughter, Mrs Juliet Lamont, assured the compiler that she had always known it as 'Imaginative Composition-"The Tent"'.

There is no known record which refers to Bomberg's work on the imaginative compositions. Mrs Lilian Bomberg wrote to the compiler (8 November 1976): 'David told me he did them in secret'. If they were executed in or around 1920 then they were probably done in London at his studio in 2 Parkhill Road, Haver- stock Hill, N.W.3. He moved to Kings Hill, Beech, Alton, Hampshire, in the spring or early summer of 1920 but, according to Lilian Bomberg, did not do very much work there being too much involved with turkey farming. Lilian Bomberg has also suggested that some of the imaginative compositions could have been painted in London before he left with his wife for Palestine in April 1923.

The bold treatment of the brushwork can be related to the landscapes Bomberg painted in Palestine. The rectilinear design is a distinctive feature of all Bomberg's mature work to this date.


Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1974-6: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1978