Wyndham Lewis

Red Scene


Wyndham Lewis 1882–1957
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 711 x 914 mm
frame: 925 x 1125 x 85 mm
Purchased 1938

Not on display

Display caption

Although this picture is dated 1933, it was not completed until 1936. The concepts of immortality, heaven and hell, and the underworld held a fascination for Lewis which is apparent in this work. The predominantly red-brown subterranean colours and pin-head figures link it to other sinister and surreal canvases by Lewis which have been described as his 'dance of death' series. Lewis observed of the paintings from this period: 'I have varied between realist fantasies and semi-abstraction'. 'Red Scene' was the first of Lewis's works to be acquired by a public collection.

Gallery label, September 2004

Catalogue entry

N04913 RED SCENE 1933–6
Inscr. ‘Wyndham Lewis 1933’ b.l.
Canvas, 28×36 (71×91·5).
Purchased from the Leicester Galleries (Clarke Fund and Grant-in-Aid) 1938.
Exh: Leicester Galleries, December 1937 (50); Tate Gallery, July–August 1956 (128).
Lit: Handley-Read, 1951, p.44.
Repr: Emporium, CV, 1947, p.169.

The artist told Charles Handley-Read that although this picture is dated 1933 it was not in fact completed until about 1936.

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


Tate Paper

Wild Geese Over the Mountains: Melodrama and the Sublime in the English Imaginary 1933–9 The Sublime Object

The paper traces the frequency with which familiar tropes of the sublime are used in the writing and painting of ...


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