David Bomberg

Study for ‘In the Hold’


Not on display

David Bomberg 1890–1957
Charcoal on paper
Frame: 744 × 857 × 30 mm
image: 548 × 654 mm
Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1967

Display caption

This study and its related painting demonstrate Bomberg's search for a purely visual language with which to express his perceptions of the urban environment. They show his precocious understanding of Cubism and Futurism, and of the artists who later became known as Vorticists. The subject was based on a scene of dockers working in the hold of a steel ship. A ladder, seen in the lower right of the picture, connects the hold with the deck above. The drawing is divided into sixty-four squares and a diagonal grid which produces a cross in each square. This geometrical framework, repeated in the final painting, dissolves the subject of the picture into dynamic angular facets.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

David Bomberg 1890–1957

T00914 Study for ‘In the Hold’ (No. T00913) c.1913

Inscribed ‘Bomberg’ b. r.
Black chalk on paper, 21 ¿ x 26 (55.5 x 66).
Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1967.
Coll: Purchased by the Friends from the artist’s widow through Marlborough Fine Art Ltd. 1967.
Exh: Marlborough Fine Art, March 1967 (64, withdrawn during the exhibition and shown in the Arts Council Retrospective Exhibition, Tate Gallery, March–April 1967, and tour, not numbered).
Lit: Ronald Alley, ‘David Bomberg’s “In the Hold”, 1913–14’, in Burlington Magazine, CX, 1968, p. 216, repr. p. 217, pi. 74.

This drawing is both squared up and has a diagonal grid; both grids are repeated complete in the finished painting, T00913.

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1967–1968, London 1968.

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