Wyndham Lewis

Vorticist Composition


In Tate Britain

Wyndham Lewis 1882–1957
Gouache and chalk on paper
Frame: 530 × 365 × 20 mm
image: 375 × 173 mm
Presented by Miss Ethel M. Saunders in memory of her sister 1963

Display caption

Lewis had a particular interest in the modern city as a place of tensions. In this work two slanting forms resemble architectural structures. Their steep diagonal focus dominates the composition. However, like other works by Lewis from this period, the drawing communicates a strong feeling of instability, arrested motion and agitation. These abstracted urban forms are also suggestive of figures, perhaps caught in a lull in between actions.

Gallery label, October 2020

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Catalogue entry

Inscr. ‘WL’ b.l. and on a separate piece of similar paper stuck on below design ‘Wyndham Lewis. 1915.’
Gouache and black chalk on paper, 15 1/4×8 1/8 (39×20·5); composition framed in pencil, 12 3/8×7 (31·5×17·75).
Presented by Ethel M. Saunders in memory of her sister 1963.
Coll: Helen Saunders (d. 1963); Ethel M. Saunders.

Helen Saunders, to whom this drawing belonged, was associated with Wyndham Lewis during his Vorticist period. For three of her own Vorticist drawings see Volume II of this Catalogue.

The drawn margin down the right-hand side of the design, and its prolongation, is marked ‘12’ and ‘13’ at those distances in inches from the top.

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

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