Edward Wadsworth

Abstract Composition

1915

In Tate Britain

Artist
Edward Wadsworth 1889–1949
Medium
Gouache, ink and graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 419 × 343 mm
frame: 690 × 530 × 15 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1956
Reference
T00109

Display caption

Sharp diagonal lines converge towards a focal point. This painting recalls the poet Ezra Pound’s description of the vortex as ‘absorbing all that is around it in a violent whirling’. The vorticist group’s aggressive rhetoric, angular style and focus on the energy of modern life were similar to Italian futurism. However, they did not share the futurists’ emphasis on speed, or their romanticisation of technology. Wadsworth and the other vorticists had a more matter-of-fact attitude to the machine age. Their images betray little sense of celebratory excitement.

Gallery label, October 2020

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Catalogue entry

T00109 ABSTRACT COMPOSITION 1915

Inscr. ‘Edward Wadsworth’ and ‘Edward Wadsworth 1915’ b.l.
Gouache, 16 1/2×13 1/2 (42×34·25).
Purchased from the Mayor Gallery (Cleve Fund) 1956.
Exh: Wyndham Lewis and Vorticism, Tate Gallery, July–August 1956 (191), and Arts Council tour, September–December 1956 (78).
Repr: V. & A., Twentieth Century British Water-Colours, 1958, pl.14; John Rothenstein, The Tate Gallery, 1962, p.256.

[no further details]

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

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