Wyndham Lewis

The Crowd

?exhibited 1915

In Tate Britain

Wyndham Lewis 1882–1957
Oil paint and graphite on canvas
Support: 2007 × 1537 mm
frame: 2195 × 1740 × 60 mm
Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1964

Display caption

The outbreak of war in 1914 led Lewis to think about the power of political ideas to form and manipulate crowds. ‘THE CROWD is the first mobilisation of a country’, he wrote in the July 1915 issue of Blast. Here tiny, interlinked figures inhabit a vast abstracted city. Some seem to be leaving the ‘Enclo[sure]’, perhaps climbing towards the hive-like structure of industrial treadmills at the top right. The larger figures at the bottom are ambiguous. They could represent overseers or be inciting the crowd to revolutionary action.

Gallery label, October 2020

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