Wyndham Lewis

Planners: Happy Day


In Tate Britain

Wyndham Lewis 1882–1957
Ink, gouache and graphite on paper
Support: 311 × 381 mm
frame: 527 × 583 × 23 mm
Purchased 1956

Display caption

This work seems less assertive in tone when compared with other Vorticist works by Lewis, such as Composition and Vorticist Composition. These later works project an aggressive dynamism lacking from the cool tones of this work. This is reflected in its original title from a 1917 exhibition, A Happy Day.
When exhibited 32 years later, Lewis used the more descriptive title Planners. The drawing is suggestive of figures bending over a drawing table. Lewis had a utopian vision for Vorticism, describing his painting as ‘more than just picture-making: one was manufacturing fresh eyes for people, and fresh souls to go with the eyes.’

Gallery label, May 2021

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Catalogue entry

T00106 PLANNERS (HAPPY DAY) c. 1912–13
Inscr. ‘Wyndham Lewis’ t.r.
Pen, pencil and gouache, 12 1/4×15 (31×38).
Purchased from the Mayor Gallery (Cleve Fund) 1956.
Coll: Purchased from the artist by John Quinn, New York; sold American Art Association, New York, 10 February 1927 (188A), bought by Richard Wyndham; Mayor Gallery.
Exh: Redfern Gallery, May 1949 (17, repr.); Tate Gallery, July–August 1956 (34).
Lit: Handley-Read, 1951, pp.35, 52–3, 85, repr. pl.4; Letters, 1963, p.504.
Repr: John Rothenstein, The Tate Gallery, 1962, p.254.

Both titles, ‘Planners’ and ‘Happy Day’, are inscribed on the backing, as is the date, ‘c. 1913’. In a letter of 2 September 1949 to Charles Handley-Read the artist attributes the title ‘Planners’ to Rex de C. Nan Kivell.

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

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