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Vorticism failed to survive the First World War. Many of its artists went into the Armed Forces. Roberts joined the Royal Field Artillery in 1916, and later became an Official War Artist. In 1920 he exhibited this drawing at the only exhibition of 'Group X'. Formed in 1919 by Wyndham Lewis and Edward McKnight Kauffer, 'Group X' was a short-lived attempt to rally the avant-garde, and to provide an alternative to the relatively traditional London Group. Roberts had been at the centre of Vorticist activity before the war. However, in later publications such as 'William Roberts: Some Early Abstract and Cubist Work 1913-1920', he revealed the extent to which he had disliked Lewis's arrogant leadership.

September 2004