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02 MARCH 2013

The Vorticists: a short-lived 20th century avant garde art movement

"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)

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TAGS

1914 • 20th century • abstract modernist group • aggressive art • Alvin Langdon Coburn • angular shapesart exhibitionart movementavant-garde • Blast (journal) • British art • cometism • cubismcubist and abstract art • David Bomberg • disruptive pattern • Dore Gallery • Dorothy Shakespear • Edward Wadsworth • Ezra Pound • Futurism (art movement)Hayward Gallery • Helen Saunders • ism • jazz rhythm • Lawrence Atkinson • maelstrom • Manifesto for a Modern World • movementpaintingpattern • Penguin Club • purging force • short-lived • Tate Britainthe energy of the machine • universal ideas • universal modernity • vanished works • visual abstractionvorticism • vorticists • William Robertswomen artistswomen in art and designWorld War IWyndham Lewis

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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