"The vorticists did not have many members; nor did the movement last long, because of unfortunate timing - it formed in 1914 as Europe hurtled towards war. By 1918 there was not much appetite for dogmatic groups such as theirs.
Nevertheless, the group holds an important place in 20th-century British art history.
'They were the first abstract modernist group in Britain,' said Stephens. 'It inevitably comes out of the revolution of cubism, but then, so does everything in the 20th century.'
They were part of a maelstrom of new, aggressive art 'ism' movements, not least the one practised by the Italian futurists, who were, in Lewis's eyes, the bad guys.
Stephens said: 'Unlike the futurists, who celebrate the energy of the machine and actual war as a purging force, the vorticists were engaged in more universal ideas of identity, time and movement in a philosophical sense.'"
(Mark Brown, 13 June 2011, The Guardian)
"Sutherland was commissioned by both Houses of Parliament to paint a full-length portrait of Churchill in 1954, for which this is a study. The finished painting was presented to Churchill. It was destroyed by his wife Clementine.
...The destruction of Sutherland's painting is one of the most notorious cases of a subject disliking their portrait. This painted sketch of Churchill's head, a study for the lost, full-length painting, suggests why. It's not simply that Sutherland's modernist tendencies irked the conservative tastes of the Sunday painter prime minister. This is a very unhappy painting. Old, grumpy, with an anger that no longer seems leavened by the humour and verbal creativity of the Churchill of legend, this is a reactionary curmudgeon surrounded by the shades of night.
The painting is black and rough, as if burnt, as if Churchill were emerging from the ruins of Europe, from a world not saved but shattered. The man himself still has a stoic authority; he might be the ancient Roman Cicero waiting to be murdered. There's a sculpted quality to his sturdy bald head that reminds you of Roman busts. There's also a sadness and sense of defeat, rather than the assertion of indomitability in the Churchill statue outside the Houses of Parliament. This is a man alone, in the real wilderness years."
(Jonathan Jones, 3 November 2001, The Guardian)
Fig.1 Winston Churchill, by Graham Vivian Sutherland, pencil and wash, circa 1954, 22 1/2 in. x 17 3/8 in. (570 mm x 440 mm), Purchased, 1990, NPG 6096, National Portrait Gallery, London.
Fig.2 Churchill in 1954 - portrait by Graham Sutherland (imperfect reproduction).