AskDefine | Define vorticism

Extensive Definition

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 20th century but lasted less than three years.


The Vorticism group began with the Rebel Art Centre which Wyndham Lewis and others established after disagreeing with Omega Workshops founder Roger Fry, and has roots in the Bloomsbury Group, Cubism, and Futurism.
Though the style grew out of Cubism, it is more closely related to Futurism in its embrace of dynamism, the machine age and all things modern (cf. Cubo-Futurism). 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 name Vorticism was given to the movement by Ezra Pound in 1913.


Other than Lewis, the main figures associated with the movement were William Roberts, Edward Wadsworth, David Bomberg, Frederick Etchells, Cuthbert Hamilton, Lawrence Atkinson, CRW Nevinson, and the sculptors Jacob Epstein and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska. There were two female artists, Jessica Dismorr, and Helen Saunders associated who were described at the time as Vorticists, though it has been argued that due to the sexism of the art world at the time, these artists have not had their critical due.


The Vorticists published the journal, BLAST, which Lewis edited. It contained 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.

Demise and legacy

The Vorticists held only one exhibition, in 1915 at the Doré Gallery. After which the movement broke up largely due to the onset of World War I and public apathy towards the work. Gaudier-Brzeska was killed in military service while leading figures such as Epstein distanced themselves stylistically from Lewis. Attempts to revive the movement in the 1920s under the name Group X were unsuccessful.
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. A 1956 exhibition at the Tate Gallery was called Wyndham Lewis and the Vorticists, highlighting his prominent place in the movement. This angered other members of the group. Bomberg and Roberts both protested strongly the assertion of Lewis, which was printed in the exhibition catalogue: "Vorticism, in fact, was what I, personally, did, and said, at a certain period."


  • Pound, Ezra. 1914. Vorticism. Fortnightly Review 96, no. 573:461-471.

External links

vorticism in German: Vortizismus
vorticism in Spanish: Vorticismo
vorticism in Modern Greek (1453-): Βορτισισμός
vorticism in Persian: ورتیسیسم
vorticism in French: Vorticisme
vorticism in Croatian: Vorticizam
vorticism in Italian: Vorticismo
vorticism in Dutch: Vorticisme
vorticism in Japanese: ヴォーティシズム
vorticism in Portuguese: Vorticismo
vorticism in Swedish: Vorticism
vorticism in Chinese: 漩渦主義
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1