Wyndham Lewis (1882 - 1957)

Born in America in 1882, Percy Wyndham Lewis was an artist, writer and founder of Vorticism. Lewis moved to London as a child with his mother after his parents separated and they lived at various addresses in London, including in Primrose Hill and Mornington Crescent. At sixteen, he was awarded a scholarship to the Slade School of Art, but he dropped out three years later and went to Paris, where he was introduced to Cubism and Expressionism.

In 1911, Lewis joined the Camden Town Group, whose members painted scenes of city life in a Post-Impressionistic style. Lewis briefly worked at the Bloomsbury Group's interior design company, the Omega Workshops, run by Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. However, in 1913, Lewis had a falling out with Fry over a commission and left, taking future Vorticists Frederick Etchells, Edward Wadsworth and Cuthbert Hamilton with him and creating rival workshop, the Rebel Art Centre.

After seeing the Italian Futurist exhibition at the Sackville Gallery in London in 1912, Lewis, along with C. R. W. Nevinson, was inspired to host a dinner with Futurism’s founder, the Italian poet F. T. Marinetti. The dinner took place in November 1913 and was attended by the other Rebel Art Centre artists. Influenced by 'The Futurist Manifesto' of 1909 and other Futurist poems written by Marinetti, Lewis and Nevinson decided to create a magazine to accompany their newly developing artistic style, which would similarly stress the importance of modernity, power and technology on their work. It was the poet and Blast contributor Ezra Pound who suggested ‘Vorticism’ as the name for their new artistic and literary movement.

1 Object by Wyndham Lewis