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Percy Wyndham Lewis (1882 - 1957)


Percy Wyndham Lewis was an English painter and writer of poems, novels, stories and polemics, born in Nova Scotia (on his father's yacht). He was the ultimate outsider and the voice of alienation. He was educated at Rugby and studied at the Slade School of Art (he was expelled from both). He worked briefly in Munich, Madrid, Brittany and Paris. He joined, then left, the Omega Workshops in 1913. Following the Brighton Cubist Room exhibition of 1914, Ezra Pound suggested the artists call themselves 'Vorticists'.He devoted himself to writing after his one-man shows of 1919 and 1921. He held an exhibition of portraits in 1932, after years of travel in Europe, North Africa and the USA. By 1950, he had published three volumes of autobiography. He was the art critic for The Listener from 1946 until he lost his sight in 1951. His later paintings were elegant portraits combining elements of Vorticism with more traditional concepts of painting; he was always an eccentric who courted controversy: 'Contradict yourself,' he wrote. 'In order to live, you must remain broken up.'


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Portrait of Edward Wadsworth

Copyright permission has kindly been granted by The Wyndham Lewis Memorial Trust.

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