An image of Figure composition (Man and woman with two bulldogs)

Percy Wyndham Lewis

(England 18 Nov 1882 – 07 Mar 1957)

Figure composition (Man and woman with two bulldogs)

Other titles:
Figure composition (with bulldogs)
Location
Not on display
Further information

The eclectic sensibility of Percy Wyndham Lewis equipped him perfectly for his role as the gadfly of the English avant-garde. It was the avowed mission of this painter, writer, publisher and propagandist to radicalise society through art, to 'blow away dead ideas and worn out notions'. Lewis's explosive rhetoric was often only that, but he managed to found the most important British response to European modernism in a movement he named vorticism. Launched with his 1914 periodical 'Blast', vorticism synthesised the cubist and futurist techniques Lewis had been experimenting with previously. This image from 1912 is already precociously vorticist. The essential steeliness of the style is clear. Jagged lines, sharp angles and metallic colours - an overall effect of shattering - comprise its outward features. The transformation of the figures occasioned by this treatment is brutalising and mechanistic. Lewis was none too gentle in his appraisal of human worth. Here, the bulldogs demonstrate more character than their owners.

Art Gallery Handbook, 1999.

Year
1912-1913
Media
Watercolour
Medium
pen and ink, watercolour, gouache
Dimensions
31.3 x 21.7 cm sheet; 63.6 x 52.0 x 3.2 cm frame
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Credit
Purchased 1983
Accession number
226.1983
Copyright
© Estate of Mrs G A Wyndham Lewis
Provenance
Anthony d'Offay Gallery, pre 23 Sep 1983, London/England, Purchased by the AGNSW from Anthony d'Offay Gallery 1983. Purchased from the exhibition 'Wyndham Lewis Drawings and Watercolours 1910-1920', 13 April - 14 May 1983.
Christie's London, 06 Nov 1981, London/England, cat.no. 71, Modern British and Irish Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture £9000/$16900
Christie's London, 13 Jun 1980, London/England, cat.no. 105 [not sold]
Michael Tachmindji, circa 1956-circa 1974, United Kingdom, Tate catalogue [1956] as lent by Michael Tachmindji. Arts Council catalogue [1974] as lent by Michael Tachmindji.
The Redfern Gallery, 1949, London/England
Sir Michael Sadler, pre 1943?, Oxford/England, d'Offay catalogue as Sadleir