Tory Historian's blog - Vorticists

Posted by Tory Historian Thursday, August 25, 2011 ,

Tory Historian spent the morning at the Tate Gallery or Tate Britain as it is now known and saw The Vorticists exhibition. By no stretch of imagination were the Vorticists conservative but the movement was genuinely exciting and innovative in Britain with real links to Continental art movements (though they refused to be associated with Marinetti and the Futurists). It is, Tory Historian thinks, their refusal to fit in with the rather cosy, attractive and unthreatening modernism of the Bloomsbury Group and surrounding artists together with the soi-disant leader, Wyndham Lewis's hatred for the British Left, the Soviet Union and the Communist fellow travellers that has ensured a certain disdain for him and the group among art critics and historians.

As a matter of fact, Wyndham Lewis was probably the best British portraitist of the twentieth century and, according to T.S.Eliot, a true-blue cultural conservative, the best prose writer of his generation. It is, Tory Historian thinks, time that his star rose again despite the left-wing cultural propaganda that has relegated him to a secondary position for so long.

Some time ago The New Culture Forum had a posting about Wyndham Lewis.
So there is the charge sheet: Wyndham Lewis dismissed the Bloomsbury Group, opposed the Soviet Union, despised the Communist fellow travellers in the West, was pro-American and was an early supporter of Anglospherist ideas. Definitely a fascist, m’lud. The widespread undermining of Wyndham Lewis’s reputation shows the extent to which the Left has managed to control cultural understanding in Britain.
The Vorticists, however, is more than just Lewis. The exhibition tells the story of this short-lived movement together with the various personal friendships, alliances and enmities; it also gives scope to the other artists, some of whom, especially the women (unlike some of the more famous artistic groups, the Vorticists had women members from the beginning) are less well known.


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