Wyndham Lewis

Bagdad

1927–8

Medium
Oil paint on wood
Dimensions
Support: 1829 x 787 mm
frame: 1900 x 860 x 66 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1956
Reference
T00099

Display caption

'Bagdad' is thought to be one of the decorations which Lewis is known to have made for one or more cupboards at his studio in Ossington Street, London in the late 1920s. The wood panel is composed of several strips joined together. The title may be connected with Lewis's story 'The Caliph's Design', published in 1919, which is set in Bagdad. Walter Michel has observed of this work: 'here the idols, architectures and gardens make up a structure clearly designed for humans, a city which is the preposterous Bagdad of The Caliph's Design'. The imagery, such as the spiral staircase, seems to be a development from abstract drawings which Lewis executed in the previous year.

Gallery label, September 2004

Catalogue entry

T00099 BAGDAD 1927–8
 
Not inscribed.
Oil on plywood, 72×31 (183×79).
Purchased from the Zwemmer Gallery (Knapping Fund) 1956.
Coll: Curtis Moffat; purchased at his sale, c. 1932, by the Zwemmer Gallery.
Exh: Redfern Gallery, May 1949 (122); 20th Century Form, Whitechapel Art Gallery, April–May 1953 (26); Abstract, Cubist, Formalist, Sur-realist, Redfern Gallery, April–May 1954 (274); Trends in British Art 1900–54, Guildhall Art Gallery, July–August 1954 (89); British Council, British Kunst 1900–55, Kunstforeningen, Copenhagen, April 1956 (50); British Council, Britisk Natidskunst, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, May–June 1956 (50); Tate Gallery, July–August 1956 (121).
Lit: Handley-Read, 1951, pp.42–3, 56, 58, 86–7, repr. pl.9.

[no further details]

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