Henri Gaudier-Brzeska

A Wolf


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Henri Gaudier-Brzeska 1891–1915
Ink on paper
Support: 240 × 385 mm
frame: 350 × 514 × 20 mm
Presented by Miss Sophie Brzeska 1918

Display caption

The artist Claude Lovat Fraser supported Gaudier in several ways, including the gift of tickets to Regents Park Zoo in London. There Gaudier spent his weekends sketching the animals so quickly that
the ink was often still wet as he turned
the page. With a few elegant lines and
no shading, he managed to convey
three-dimensional form and capture
a momentary view of a beast in movement. Resting or alert, standing or pacing,
each animal's unique personality
is encapsulated in these drawings.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

N03339 A WOLF 1913
Inscr. ‘Henri Gaudier Brzeska 1913’ b.r.
Pen and ink, 9 3/4×13 1/2 (25×34).
Presented by Miss Sophie Brzeska 1918.
Exh: Arts Council, 1956–7 (76).
Repr: Ede, 1930, pl.59.

One of a number of drawings of wild animals and birds made c. 1912–13. Gaudier (in Ede, 1930, pp.200–1) lists ‘Nombreux dessins de nus, animaux à la plume’ under the year 1913, but in a letter of as early as 17 November 1912 (Ede, 1930, p.138) he mentions making drawings at the London Zoo. Later a visit to Arundel Park in the autumn of 1913 inspired a number of drawings of deer. The style of these outline drawings should be compared with Gaudier's early naturalistic studies of stuffed animals such as those of 1907 and 1908 reproduced in Ede, 1930, pls. 5 and 7. The earlier outline drawings seem to have been those with a slightly thicker line than the others (see Pound, 1916, p.163).

Drawings such as these, though made for their own sake, often served as the starting-point for works of sculpture, e.g. N03341 and N04529.

A large number of drawings were included in the Memorial exhibition at the Leicester Galleries, 1918, but they were not separately listed or described.

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


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