Bonus ism – Vorticism

Definition – Vorticism

Vorticism was a radical art and poetry movement based in the U.K. that illuminated the art world briefly during years before and during World War I. It was an offshoot of Cubism. Even though it was based in the U.K. it had many international adherents. The movement was announced in 1914 in the first issue of BLAST, which contained its manifesto. This manifesto declared the movement’s rejection of traditional art in favour of a geometric style tending towards abstraction.

Though the movement was influenced heavily by Cubism, it is more closely related to another Cubist offshoot, Futurism, in its love of dynamism, the machine and all things modern.

Three Key Artists

Wyndham Lewis – Lewis is credited with founding the Vorticist movement. It was during the years 1913–15 that he developed the style of geometric abstraction which his friend Ezra Pound termed Vorticism. From around 1915 onwards Lewis became obsessed with politics and its implications for art. He found Cubist art appealing but liked the dynamism of Futurism, and somehow combined the two.


William Roberts – Roberts flirted briefly with Vorticism but looking back preferred to refer his art style of those years as Cubist.

Seaside – is it Cubist or Vorticist?

David Bomberg – Bomberg attended the Slade where he studied alongside other future Vorticists such as William Roberts. He was widely exhibited during from 1913 onwards, when his style of a geometrical precision developed, a style that was very close to that of Vorticism. He didn’t like being labelled a Vorticist though. So he would not have liked to be in this blog entry.

The Mud Bath

One Key Work

It has to be ‘The Mud Bath’ above which was allegedly exhibited outside the gallery ‘in’ which it was exhibited left to face the wind and the rain.


Vorticism Website, [last accessed 21 November 2012]

Wikipedia on William Roberts, [last accessed 21 November 2012]


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