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Collection

An image of Figure composition (Man and woman with two bulldogs) by Percy Wyndham Lewis

Percy Wyndham Lewis

(England 18 Nov 1882 – 07 Mar 1957)

Title
Figure composition (Man and woman with two bulldogs)
Other titles:
Figure composition (with bulldogs)
Year
1912-1913
Media category
Watercolour
Materials used
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
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.

Provenance (6)

Sir Michael Sadler, pre 1943?, Oxford/England, d'Offay catalogue as Sadleir

The Redfern Gallery, 1949, London/England

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.

Christie's London, 13 Jun 1980, London/England, cat.no. 105 [not sold]

Christie's London, 06 Nov 1981, London/England, cat.no. 71, Modern British and Irish Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture £9000/$16900

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.

Bibliography (14)

Anthony d'Offay Gallery, Wyndham Lewis: drawings and watercolours 1910-1920, London, 1983, (colour illus.). cat.no. 14

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Five years on: a selection of acquisitions 1981-1986, Sydney, 1986, (illus.). cat.no. 139

Richard Cork, Vorticism and its allies, 'Section 1: The prelude to Vorticism', pg. 35-47, London, 1974, 36. cat.no. 21

Renée Free, The Art Gallery of New South Wales Collections, 'The Western Heritage, Renaissance to Twentieth Century', pg. 108-172, Sydney, 1994, 146 (colour illus.).

Renee Free, Art and Australia (Vol. 22, No. 1), 'European Acquisitions: 1972-83', pg. 63-67, Sydney, Spring 1984, cover (colour illus.), 66.

Renée Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales Handbook, 'European', pg. 36-56, Sydney, 1988, 56 (illus.).

Renée Free, Modernism 1900-1950: prints and drawings from the collection, Sydney, 1994. no catalogue numbers

Ted Gott, Laurie Benson and Sophie Matthiesson, Modern Britain 1900-1960, Melbourne, 2007, 68 (colour illus.).

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales Handbook, 'Western Collection: Works on Paper', pg. 78-92, Sydney, 1999, 89 (colour illus.).

Terence Maloon and Peter Raissis (Editors), Michelangelo to Matisse: drawing the figure, Sydney, 1999, 109 (colour illus.). cat.no. 57

Walter Michel, Wyndham Lewis: paintings and drawings, London, 1971, (illus.). cat.no. 62, plate 21

Tate Britain, Wyndham Lewis and Vorticism, Wyndam Lewis: Drawings, London, 1956, 14. cat.no. 29

Donald Williams and Barbara Vance Wilson, From caves to canvas: an introduction to western art (Second edition), 'Man, Machines and Movement: Futurism, Rayonnism, Skyscrapers', pg.251-266, Sydney, 1998, 225 (colour illus.), 256.

Donald Williams and Barbara Vance Wilson, From caves to canvas: an introduction to western art, 'Man, Machines and Movement: Futurism and its followers', pg.225-231, Sydney, 1992, 229 (colour illus.).

Exhibition history (8)

Wyndham Lewis, The Redfern Gallery, London, 05 May 1949–26 May 1949

Wyndham Lewis and Vorticism, Tate Britain, England, 06 Jul 1956–19 Aug 1956

Vorticism and its Allies, Hayward Gallery, London, 27 Mar 1974–02 Jun 1974

Wyndham Lewis: drawings and watercolours 1910-1920, Anthony d'Offay Gallery, England, 13 Apr 1983–14 May 1983

Five years on: a selection of acquisitions 1981-1986, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 26 Sep 1986–23 Nov 1986

Modernism 1900-1950: prints and drawings from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 23 Jul 1994–25 Sep 1994

Michelangelo to Matisse: Drawing the figure, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 20 Nov 1999–27 Feb 2000

Modern Britain 1900-1960, NGV: International, Melbourne, 15 Nov 2007–24 Feb 2008