By 1914 Orage had persuaded some of the most radical modernists in the London art world, including T.E. Hulme, Wyndham Lewis and Pound, to join his list of illustrious contributors. In March of that year, Sickert attacked Hulme’s ‘incomprehensible bedevilments and obfuscations and convolutions’, and Jacob Epstein’s sculpted ‘Pigeons
’ which he considered to be pornographic.14
Then Hulme had his turn. The intense debate, which Orage encouraged, became a war of drawings rather than words when Orage asked Hulme to select ‘Contemporary Drawings’ to be presented in the periodical as a more daring alternative to Sickert’s ‘Modern Drawing’ series, which first appeared in January 1914 and included works by Sickert, other Camden Town artists and associates, and his pupils.15
Introducing his series in April 1914 with a drawing by David Bomberg, Hulme pointed out that ‘you will have ... the advantage of comparing the drawings with the not very exhilarating work of the more traditional school ... in the series Mr. Sickert is editing’.16
Next Sickert’s art criticism came under attack from ‘Arifiglio’, who was almost certainly Pound, who unjustly derided Sickert’s writing as a load of nonsense in two attacks written in a cruel parody of the artist’s unique style.17
As a result, Sickert ceased writing for the New Age
and instead made use of his skills in the more establishment journals. Sickert’s writings on art consistently stress the interconnection between modern subjects and new methods of making. An equal emphasis on the meaning and the method behind a work of art is part of his legacy to the study of modern art.