Welcome to the Vorticists blog. Over the coming weeks I will be sharing with you some fantastic stories about the works in our exhibition. Firstly, what was Vorticism - and who were the Vorticists?

Wyndham Lewis, 'Workshop' circa 1914-5

Wyndham Lewis
Workshop circa 1914-5
Oil on canvas
support: 765 x 610 mm frame: 915 x 760 x 75 mm
Purchased 1974© Wyndham Lewis and the estate of Mrs G A Wyndham Lewis by kind permission of the Wyndham Lewis Memorial Trust (a registered charity)

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Hello, I’m Chris Stephens, curator of Modern British Art at Tate Britain. I am also the co-curator of The Vorticists: Manifesto for a Modern World at Tate Britain, which was conceived by Mark Antliff (Professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies at Duke University), and Vivien Greene (Curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York).

William Roberts, 'The Vorticists at the Restaurant de la Tour Eiffel: Spring, 1915' 1961-2

William Roberts
The Vorticists at the Restaurant de la Tour Eiffel: Spring, 1915 1961-2
Oil on canvas
support: 1829 x 2134 mm
Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1962© The estate of William Roberts

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Vorticism was one of the truly avant-garde movements in British history. It emerged in the summer of 1914 just before the outbreak of the First World War. The leader of the group was the painter Wyndham Lewis and it was named by American poet Ezra Pound (who had previously described London as a vortex of creativity) and included sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska. As well as a number of signed-up members, the wider circle around the group included the sculptor Jacob Epstein and painters William Roberts, David Bomberg and Edward Wadsworth.

Our exhibition brings together over 100 Vorticist works including paintings, sculptures, photography, journals and literary ephemera, including Gaudier-Brzeska’s monumental Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound 1914,  Bomberg’s The Mud Bath 1914 as well as Epstein’s extraordinary work Rock Drill (1913-15).

We will also be showing what some believe to be the first abstract photographs - by Vorticist photographer Alvin Langdon Coburn.

And one of the undoubted highlights will be the works of the little known women Vorticists - Jessica Dismorr, Dorothy Shakespear and Helen Saunders, some of whose artworks have only been recently unearthed by Mark Antliff.

Comments

Sybille Greisinger

Dear Chris,

I would love to have an invitation to the opening of the Vorticists exhibition as well. I'm writing my PhD in art history here in Germany about a philosophical topic concerning the Vorticists group. So I'm really looking forward to seeing the exhibition! Could I leave my address at some other place?

Kind regards Sybille

Elizabeth Dismorr

So glad that Jessica Dismorr is finally gaining some recognition, as well as the other female artists in the group. It always annoys me when I see the portrait of the Vorticist group at the Tour Eiffel and Jessica Dismorr and Helen Saunders are just shoved in the door way - Jessica with a purse in her hand, as if all she can contribute is money!

As a descendant of Dismorr (and an artist myself!) I am really looking forward to seeing the show as are the rest of my family.

Elizabeth Dismorr

Dje

"Jessica with a purse in her hand, as if all she can contribute is money!"

Fine words and sentiment.

Unfortunately the one person who did literally put her hand in her purse and contribute money, the artist Kate Lechmere - who financed the whole Rebel Art Centre and publication of 'Blast I' - is not only absent from Roberts' Tour Eiffel painting, but apparently lacking from Tate's forthcoming exhibition too.

I guess that is the historical penalty you pay for spurning the amours of Wyndham Lewis for his rival, T. E. Hulme.

Alas, a lass.

Andrew Gibbon-W...

FAO CHRIS STEPHENS

Dear Chris,

I would appreciate an invite to the opening of the London showing of Vorticism etc. Also to the symp. if that's at all possible. Could you let me know? My address is: VIA CARABELLI 6, 20137 MILANO, ITALY.

Has the Tate augmented the Venice show with its own holdings?

Kind regards,

Andrew GW

Chris Stephens

Andrew did you receive an invitation/s?