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Figure composition (Man and woman with two bulldogs)



Percy Wyndham Lewis


18 Nov 1882 – 07 Mar 1957

  • Details

    Other Title
    Figure composition (with bulldogs)
    Media category
    Materials used
    pen and ink, watercolour, gouache
    31.3 x 21.7 cm sheet; 63.6 x 52.0 x 3.2 cm frame
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Purchased 1983
    20th-century galleries (ground floor)
    Accession number
    © Estate of Mrs G A Wyndham Lewis

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Percy Wyndham Lewis

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Percy Wyndham Lewis made this watercolour two years before he formed the avant-garde vorticist movement with American poet Ezra Pound. ‘Vorticism’, wrote Pound, ‘is art before it has spread itself into a state of flaccidity … The vortex is the point of maximum energy. It represents, in mechanics, the greatest efficiency’.

    The hallmarks of a radical new style are present in Lewis’s line-and-wash drawings of 1912. Using hard-edged precision, anti-naturalistic colours and compact geometrical arrangements of arcs, wedges and sharp lines, Lewis invented a race of dehumanised machine people. Embedded in abstract surrounds, these robotic figures convey a great kinetic energy. Zigzagging and jagged lines thrust outwards to the edges of the paper then converge back to the centre, as if subjected to the whirling forces of a vortex.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 9 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 14 publications

  • Provenance

    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.