Thursday, August 26, 2010

Picture of the Week No. 32 - Edward Wadsworth

We're all very excited about the imminent launch of our commissioned Paul Catherall artwork which we should be able to show you here next week. Designed for R100 and R101: Airships in Cardington, 2nd October-19th December, the finished work will be on the poster and available to buy as a very limited edition linocut and as an exhibiton poster, as well as on a range of merchandise. One of Paul Catherall's artistic heroes is Edward Wadsworth, who is perhaps most famous for his paintings the First World War dazzle ships. Dazzle camouflage was intended not to hide the ship but confuse the outline of the ship un order to disguise its direction and distance in the eyes of a submarine periscope operator. The modern appearance of the ships evoked cubism and it is of little surprise that a Modernist artist such as Wadsworth supervised the camouflaging of many of the ships painted at Liverpool. This week, as I've been away for a few weeks, I'll show you two of the Wadsworths in the collection, and they arequite different pieces. The first is a pencil study of a Marseilles street in a stylised but realist manner. The second, a bold and cubist composition using repeated forms and motifs and a limited pallete of red, pink, black, white, and maroon. KP

EDWARD WADSWORTH, A.R.A. (1889-1949)
Street in Marseilles (also known as Hospice de la Charité, Marseilles), 1924
pencil on paper, 47.9 ´ 22.8 cm
inscribed: Edward Wadsworth 1924
Acession No. P.329

Marseilles and the nearby naval base at Toulon enjoyed a reputation in the early 1920s as a bohemian centre for artists and writers. Wadsworth was amongst the first English artists to go there, with others such as Edward BURRA, and Paul NASH following soon after.

It was during this period that he fell out with Wyndham LEWIS whose novel, The Apes of God, railed against 'champagne bohemia' and criticized many from Wadsworth’s circle of friends.

PROVENANCE: The artist’s widow; Mayor Gallery, from whom purchased by Gallery, January 1960.
EXHIBITIONS: Edward Wadsworth Memorial Exhibition, London, Tate Gallery, 1951 as no. 75,76, or 77 (all three have the same date and virtually identical measurements); Edward Wadsworth, 1889-1949, Bradford, Cartwright Hall, 1989-1990, no.86 as Hospice de la Charité.
REFERENCES: J. Lewison (ed.), A Genius of Industrial England. Edward Wadsworth 1889-1949, 1990, p.47, no.86, repr. as Hospice de la Charité, Marseille.

'Composition, 1930', 1930

pencil and bodycolour on paper, 35.3 ´ 50.9 cm
inscribed: E WADSWORTH 1930
Acession No. P.327

Wadsworth was born at Cleckheaton in 1889, the son of Fred Wadsworth, a well known name in the worsted spinning industry of Yorkshire. He studied at the Knirr Art School, Munich, the Bradford School of Art and the Slade 1910-12. He befriended Wyndham LEWIS and exhibited in London with the Vorticists and various other independent groups.

His war service was as an intelligence officer in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve based at Mudros, on the Aegean isle of Lemnos. He was invalided home in 1917 and later engaged with dazzle camouflage at various English ports.

In the 1930s Wadsworth was a member with Ben NICHOLSON, Paul NASH and others of Unit 1 and was also commissioned to make two paintings for the liner Queen Mary.

PROVENANCE: Mrs Wadsworth the artist’s widow, from whom purchased by Gallery, January 1960.

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