The Courtauld, London

The Courtauld Institute of Art | Somerset House, Strand
WC2R 0RN London

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press release

The bone beneath the pulp: Drawings by Wyndham Lewis featured over 50 works by one of the key avant-garde figures in British art of the early 20th century. The exhibition presented drawings spanning Lewis’s career, on long-term loan from the Wyndham Lewis Memorial Trust and its Trustees.

Described by the poet and critic T. S. Eliot as 'the most fascinating personality of our time’, Percy Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957), artist, novelist and cultural critic, is renowned as the leader of the Vorticist group in the years immediately before the First World War. The abstract works he produced early in his career were distinctive for their formal experimentation and acerbic wit, yet his diverse and experimental oeuvre also encompassed figure studies, portraits and works of imaginative fantasy. Beginning in the early 1900s, the exhibition traced his drawing from youthful figure studies, heavily indebted to Augustus John and the Slade School tradition, to the portraits of the 1920s and 30s, outstanding in the clarity of their line, through to the surreal abstractions and dreamscapes of the 1930s and 40s. Charting his move to Canada and the United States during the Second World War and his subsequent return to London in 1945, the exhibition ended with one of Lewis’s last works, Red figures carrying babies and visiting graves,completed in 1951 just before he lost his sight.

Wyndham Lewis
The bone beneath the pulp