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Vorticism was Britain's first art movement. The avant-garde movement was founded in June 1914 by Percy Wyndham Lewis. At the time its members were Wyndham Lewis himself, David Bomberg, Frederick Etchells, Edward Wadsworth, Dorothy Shakespeare, Jacob Epstein, William Roberts, CRW Nevinson and its most famous exponent, the French sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska (killed at 24 in World War I). The name Vorticism is derived from some words by the Italian futurist Umberto Boccioni, who said that all creative art comes from an emotional vortex. Yet some sources insist the term was coined by Ezra Pound.

The short-lived movement (it was dead by the end of World War I) was related to Futurism and Cubism. Its members wanted to "simplify forms into machinelike angularity", as encyclopedia.com puts it. The Vorticists celebrated the modern world with its machines and monumental architecture, and interpreted through their work the vitality of the time. They wanted to record activity, movement and dynamics. Vorticism also was fully dedicated to two-dimensional abstraction.

The Vorticists' works did not have the impressionist features of Futurism, but these were sharply defined forms with flat, vibrant colours based on simplistic geometric shapes. They also expressed an inner emotional content unlike Cubism which was more an intellectual study of objective reality.

Despite its short active period, the movement was mentioned (and supported) by Ezra Pound, James Joyce and T.S. Eliot in their writings.

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