Wyndham Lewis

Bagdad

1927–8

Artist
Wyndham Lewis 1882–1957
Medium
Oil paint on wood
Dimensions
Support: 1829 × 787 mm
frame: 1900 × 860 × 66 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1956
Reference
T00099

Display caption

It is thought that Lewis made Bagdad to decorate a cupboard in his studio on Ossington Street, London. The wood panel is composed of several strips joined together. Its title and design may come from a chapter of Lewis’s book ‘The Caliph’s Design’, published in 1919. Lewis wrote a short parable set in Baghdad, about a Caliph who is unhappy with the appearance of his city. The Caliph creates a Vorticist-style design, instructing an engineer and architect to ‘invent the shapes and conditions that would make it possible to realise my design’. Lewis seems to have developed the imagery from abstract drawings he did the previous year.

Gallery label, November 2021

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Catalogue entry

T00099 BAGDAD 1927–8
 
Not inscribed.
Oil on plywood, 72×31 (183×79).
Purchased from the Zwemmer Gallery (Knapping Fund) 1956.
Coll: Curtis Moffat; purchased at his sale, c. 1932, by the Zwemmer Gallery.
Exh: Redfern Gallery, May 1949 (122); 20th Century Form, Whitechapel Art Gallery, April–May 1953 (26); Abstract, Cubist, Formalist, Sur-realist, Redfern Gallery, April–May 1954 (274); Trends in British Art 1900–54, Guildhall Art Gallery, July–August 1954 (89); British Council, British Kunst 1900–55, Kunstforeningen, Copenhagen, April 1956 (50); British Council, Britisk Natidskunst, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, May–June 1956 (50); Tate Gallery, July–August 1956 (121).
Lit: Handley-Read, 1951, pp.42–3, 56, 58, 86–7, repr. pl.9.

[no further details]

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

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