Helen Saunders

Monochrome Abstract Composition

c.1915

Artist
Helen Saunders 1885–1963
Medium
Ink, watercolour and graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 289 x 184 mm
frame: 437 x 311 x 27 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by Miss Ethel M. Saunders in memory of her sister 1963
Reference
T00622

On loan to: Compton Verney (Compton Verney, UK)

Exhibition: Colour and Perception: From Seurat to Riley

Display caption

Saunders studied at the Slade School of Art between 1906 and 1907 and at the Central School of Art. She was among the artists who signed the Vorticist Manifesto in the first issue of 'BLAST', published in June 1914. According to the artist's sister, both 'Monochrome Abstract Design' and Abstract Multicoloured Design' were probably made when Saunders was helping Wyndham Lewis to produce decorations for the Restaurant de la Tour Eiffel in 1915. Stylistically, these works are closely related to designs by Lewis, which can be seen in 'BLAST' No.1. After 1920 she gave up making abstract pictures and returned to a naturalistic style.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

T00622 MONOCHROME ABSTRACT COMPOSITION c. 1915

Not inscribed.
Indian ink and grey wash over pencil on paper (with a pentimento consisting of a patch of paper covering the continuation of the upper circle about a third of the way down from the upper edge of the composition), irregularly shaped, approx. 11 3/8×7 1/4 (29×18·5).
Presented by Ethel M. Saunders in memory of her sister 1963.
Coll: Helen Saunders, d. 1963; presented by her sister.

The artist's sister considered that this and the two following watercolours probably date from 1915 when Helen Saunders was helping Wyndham Lewis do decorations for the Restaurant de la Tour Eiffel (letter to the compiler, 12 December 1963). Stylistically these works bear a close relationship to designs by Wyndham Lewis published in Blast, No.1, 1914, and to the black-and-white illustration, ‘Island of Laputa’, by Helen Saunders (spelt ‘Sanders’) which appears in Blast, No.2, 1915, p.8.

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

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