Edward Wadsworth, 1889-1949
Simple name : Person: artist
Collection : People
Reference number : 1996/5137
Edward Alexander Wadsworth
Preferred name :
Born in Cleckheaton, Yorkshire, Edward Wadsworth studied engineering in Munich (1906-7), then at Bradford School of Art and the Slade (1907-12). He was a painter, mainly in tempora, and a wood and copper engraver of abstracts, nautical and landscape subjects.
He contributed to Roger Fry's Second Post-Impressionist Exhibition at the Grafton Galleries and was briefly a member of Fry's Omega Workshops. Together with Frederick Etchells, Cuthbert Hamilton and Wyndham Lewis, he broke away from the Omega Workshops after the 'Ideal Home Rumpus'. In 1913 he was represented at the Exhibition by the Camden Town Group and Others staged at the Brighton Public Art Galleries. A founder member of the London Group, he succeeded J B Manson as secretary of the Group in 1915.
He was a signatory of the Vorticist Manifesto in 1914 and contributed drawings to 'Blast No 1'. In the same year he joined Lewis's Rebel Art Centre. He worked as a `dazzle' camouflage artist during the First World War and served with RNVR as an intelligence officer. His membership of the London Group ended in 1919, by which time Roger Fry and the Bloomsbury painters had taken control of the Group. Wadsworth had his first solo exhibition of woodcuts and drawings at the Adelphi Gallery in 1919. In 1920 he contributed to Wyndham Lewis's Group X exhibition at the Mansard Gallery. His early drawings and woodcuts were concerned with expressing the forward march of mechanization.
Later he worked as a painter, often of marine subjects, as well as a print-maker and book illustrator. His woodcuts made a particular impact at a time when wood engraving was just being revived.
The later tempera paintings featured nautical instruments, shells and other objects arranged into formal and harmonious designs. In the early 1930s he was involved with the advanced Unit One. Wyndham Lewis said of him: 'All I can say ... is that Wadsworth was an important artist: that as much as Old Crome was a genius of agricultural England, Wadsworth was a genius of industrial England (deflected, so I think, into nautical channels).' From 1921 he was a member of the NEAC and in 1943 he was elected an ARA. He had a number of books published including 'The Black Country' (1920) and 'Sailing Ships and Barges of the Western Mediterranean and the Adriatic Sea' (1926). A memorial exhibition of his work was staged at the Tate Gallery in 1951.
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- Munich, Germany : 1906-1907
- Bradford School of Art : 1908
- Slade School of Fine Art : 1909-1912
- Designed posters for London Transport : 1936