Edward Wadsworth



Not on display

Edward Wadsworth 1889–1949
Gouache and graphite on paper
Support: 276 × 295 mm
Purchased 1974

Display caption

Very little of Wadsworth’s early work survives. He made this gouache in woodland near Lewes in Sussex, when he was twenty-four. He was exploring ideas about the depiction of form and space derived from Cézanne and Cubism.

Wadsworth rarely produced pastoral landscapes like this; his later work was to be dominated by industrial, urban and maritime imagery.

Gallery label, April 2005

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Catalogue entry

T01904 LANDSCAPE 1913

Not inscribed
Gouache and pencil on paper, 10 7/8×11 5/8 (27.8×29.5)
Purchased from Colnaghi's (Grant-in-Aid) 1974
Coll: Mrs Violet Wallis; Mrs Daisie Ashby-Bolton 1951; Mrs Grace Green 1966; Mrs H. E. Poulton 1970; with Colnaghi's 1974
Exh: Post-Impressionist and Futurist Exhibition, Doré Galleries, October 1913 (70, 71 or 198); Edward Wadsworth, P & D Colnaghi Ltd., July–August 1974 (10, repr.)
Lit: Richard Cork, Vorticism and Abstract Art in the First Machine age, 1976 Vol. 1 pp.103–5.

Painted in the summer of 1913, near Lewes, Sussex, this landscape is closely related in subject and treatment to three other known watercolours of this period. All are based on motifs of trees and/or water-probably at a spot near the river Ouze. The series as a whole, which shows Wadsworth progressively abstracting from nature in a proto-Cubist way has been discussed by Richard Cork (op.cit).

None of the three surviving gouaches is dated, but a photograph of a fourth, dated 1913 and entitled by Cork ‘Pool in Forest’, establishes a date for the series. Three watercolours were exhibited in October 1913 (see above), but as only one was originally given a title, it has not been possible to ascertain whether T01904 was among them.

In a letter to the compiler (21 January 1976) Richard Cork, who omitted the recently-discovered ‘Landscape’ from his book, has suggested that it be placed towards the end of the series, after ‘Trees beside River’ (repr. p.104), ‘Pool with Trees and Punt’ (repr. p.103, coll. Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool), and ‘Pool in Forest’ (repr. p.103) on the grounds of its greater degree of simplification and abstraction.

In a fifth work (which survives in a photograph), entitled variously ‘The Farmyard’ or ‘Sussex Farm’ (repr. p.104), the motif of farm buildings is reduced still further, becoming dynamic and incipiently Vorticist in character. Cork places this last.

T01904 was first owned by Mrs Violet Wallis, Wadsworth's first cousin by marriage. According to her niece, Mrs Primrose Friend-Smith, the Wallises often helped the young Wadsworth by buying his work at this time.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1974-6: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1978

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