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Vorticism

Blast: The Review of the Great English Vortex, Timon of Athens, Composition, Workshop

lewis pound brzeska gaudier

a Modernist movement in British art and literature, linked to Imagism and Futurism, as promulgated by the Italian impresario Marinetti. Its leading figure was the writer and painter Wyndham Lewis; the term ‘vortex’ was first coined by Ezra Pound, in an essay on the sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, and was adopted by Lewis to describe the concentrated energy of the new movement. In October 1913, after a quarrel with Roger Fry, Lewis broke away from the Bloomsbury-dominated Omega Workshops to set up the Rebel Art Centre, where he was joined by a number of artists, including Frederick Etchells, Edward Wadsworth, C. R. W. Nevinson, Jacob Epstein, and Gaudier-Brzeska, as well as Pound, Richard Aldington, and others. In June 1914 Blast: The Review of the Great English Vortex appeared, edited, illustrated, and largely written by Lewis, although with significant contributions from Pound; its most distinctive feature was the ‘Manifesto of the Great London Vortex’ with its catalogue of ‘Blasts’ and ‘Blesses’. Its aim was to promote hardedged abstraction in the visual arts and a corresponding anti-Romantic emphasis in literature, of which the best examples can be found in Lewis's own productions, such as his 1912 Timon of Athens series, his Composition (1913), and Workshop (1915); his Expressionist play Enemy of the Stars, which appeared in Blast II (1915), and the first version of his novel Tarr (1918) are also Vorticist in style. Jacob Epstein's Rock Drill (1913), David Bomberg's In the Hold (191314), and Gaudier-Brzeska's Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound (1913) are other examples. A Vorticist Exhibition was held at the Doré Gallery in 1915; but the First World War effectively brought the movement to an end.

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