Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Vorticism was a short lived, British art movement of the early 20th century. It is considered to be the only significant British movement of the early twentieth century but lasted less than three years.
The name "Vorticism" was given to the movement by Ezra Pound in 1913, although Wyndham Lewis, usually seen as the central figure in the movement, had been producing paintings in the same style for a year or so previously. The style is said to have grown out of Cubism, but is more closely related to Futurism in its embrace of dynamism, the machine age and all things modern. 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 Vorticists had only one exhibition, in 1915 at the Doré Gallery . Following that, the movement broke up, largely due to the onset of World War I and public apathy towards the work. Attempts to revive the movement in the 1920s under the name Group X were unsuccessful.
The Vorticists had their own journal, BLAST, edited by Lewis. It published work by Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot as well as by the vorticists themselves. Its typographical adventurousness was cited by El Lissitzky as one of the major forerunners of the revolution in graphic design in the 1920s and 1930s.
Although 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 necessarily. A 1956 exhibition at the Tate Gallery was called "Wyndham Lewis and the Vorticists", highlighting his prominent place in the movement, although this angered some other members of the group. Both Bomberg and Roberts protested strongly over Lewis' assertion in the exhibition catalogue that "Vorticism, in fact, was what I, personally, did, and said, at a certain period."
- An example of a Vorticist painting is Workshop circa 1914-5 by Wyndham Lewis.
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