Wyndham Lewis

Red Scene


Not on display
Wyndham Lewis 1882–1957
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 711 x 914 mm
frame: 925 x 1125 x 85 mm
Purchased 1938

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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