Wyndham Lewis

A Canadian War Factory

1943

Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 1143 x 857 mm
frame: 1259 x 973 x 63 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1957
Reference
T00135

Display caption

Lewis was born in Nova Scotia. In 1914 he was a founder of the Vorticist Group in London. During the First World War he served with the Royal Artillery and became an Official War Artist to the Canadian Corps Headquarters between 1917 and 1918. This picture, representing a scene in a Canadian brass foundry, was his only contribution to the War Artists Scheme of the Second World War. Stranded in Canada and short of money he had written to the War Artists Advisory Committee, who agreed to commission an oil or drawings. He later explained: 'It is a busy scene in a factory... there was a great deal of smoke and steam and not a great deal of light.'

Gallery label, September 2004

Catalogue entry

T00135 A CANADIAN WAR FACTORY 1943
 
Not inscribed.
Canvas, 45×33 3/4 (114×85·5).
Presented by the War Artists' Advisory Committee 1946 but not delivered until 1957.
Lit: Letters, 1963, pp.323 n., 350, 363.

Wyndham Lewis spent the years 1939–45 in Canada and the U.S.A.; this work was painted in 1943 and shows brass-founding in a factory at Toronto. Presented to the Tate Gallery in 1946, it was retained by the artist for reworking.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I