Vorticism was a short lived British
art movementof the early 20th century. It is considered to be the only significant British movement of the early 20th century but lasted less than three yearsWest, Shearer (general editor), "The Bullfinch Guide to Art History", page 883, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, United Kingdom, 1996. ISBN 0-8212-2137-X] .
The Vorticism group began with the Rebel Art Centre which
Wyndham Lewisand others established after disagreeing with Omega Workshopsfounder Roger Fry, and has roots in the Bloomsbury Group, Cubism, and Futurism.
Though the style grew out of
Cubism, it is more closely related to Futurism in its embrace of dynamism, the machine age and all things modern (cf. Cubo-Futurism). However, Vorticism diverged from Futurism in the way that it tried to capture movement in an image. In a Vorticist painting modern life is shown as an array of bold lines and harsh colours drawing the viewer's eye into the centre of the canvas.
The name Vorticism was given to the movement by
Ezra Poundin 1913, although Lewis, usually seen as the central figure in the movement, had been producing paintings in the same style for a year or so previously [ [http://www.20thcenturylondon.org.uk/server.php?show=conObject.4983 Program and menu from The Cave of the Golden Calf, Cabaret and Theatre Club, Heddon Street] ] .
Other than Lewis, the main figures associated with the movement were William Roberts,
Edward Wadsworth, David Bomberg, Frederick Etchells, Cuthbert Hamilton, Lawrence Atkinson, CRW Nevinson, and the sculptors Jacob Epsteinand Henri Gaudier-Brzeska. There were two female artists, Jessica Dismorr, and Helen Saundersassociated who were described at the time as Vorticists, though it has been argued that due to the sexism of the art world at the time, these artists have not had their critical due.
The Vorticists published the
literary magazine"BLAST", which Lewis edited. It contained work by Ezra Poundand T. S. Eliotas well as by the Vorticists themselves. Its typographical adventurousness was cited by El Lissitzkyas one of the major forerunners of the revolution in graphic designin the 1920s and 1930s.
Demise and legacy
The Vorticists held only one exhibition, in 1915 at the
Doré Gallery. After which the movement broke up largely due to the onset of World War Iand public apathy towards the work. Gaudier-Brzeska was killed in military service while leading figures such as Epstein distanced themselves stylistically from Lewis. Attempts to revive the movement in the 1920s under the name Group X were unsuccessful.
While Lewis is generally seen as the central figure in the movement, it has been suggested that this was more due to his contacts and ability as a self-publicist and polemicist than the quality of his works.Fact|date=February 2007 A 1956 exhibition at the
Tate Gallerywas called "Wyndham Lewis and the Vorticists", highlighting his prominent place in the movement. This angered other members of the group. Bomberg and Roberts both protested strongly the assertion of Lewis, which was printed in the exhibition catalogue: "Vorticism, in fact, was what I, personally, did, and said, at a certain period."
*Pound, Ezra. 1914. Vorticism. "Fortnightly Review" 96, no. 573:461-471.
* [http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ViewWork?workid=8709 "Workshop"] , a Vorticist painting circa 1914-5 by Wyndham Lewis
* [http://www.vorticism.co.uk www.vorticism.co.uk] , information about Vorticism
* [http://www.fullposter.com/snippets.php?snippet=133 Ezra Pound: "Vorticism"]
* [http://www.npg.org.uk/wyndhamlewis/index.html www.npg.org.uk/wyndhamlewis] , Wyndham Lewis exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London. 3 July - 19 October 2008
* [http://www.minusspace.com/chronology1910-1919.htm Chronology of related art movements in the 1910s] List discusses Vorticism
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