20th Century British Art
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Edward Alexander Wadsworth (1889-1949)

Painter and wood engraver, born in Cleckheaton, Yorkshire. On leaving school, he studied engraving for one year in Munich, spending his spare time at the Knirr Art School also in Munich. He studied art formerly at Bradford School of Art and the Slade. Wadsworth participated briefly in the Omega Workshops, showed with the Friday Club, the Arts League of Service and about this time exhibited with the short-lived Grafton Group alongside Etchells, and sculptor Gaudier-Brzeska. He then broke away with Wyndham Lewis from establishment art and took part in the Rebel Art Centre. His knowledge of German enabled him to contribute a translation of Kandinsky's 'Uber das Geistige in der Kunst' (Concerning the Spiritual in the Art) for Blast issue No 1 in 1914. Wadsworth whose work was reproduced in Coterie and Art & Letters also signed the Vorticist Manifesto and helped to forge new ground with a non-figurative style.


During World War I he served as an intelligence officer in the Navy and was invalided out in 1917 when he spent a year working on dazzle camouflage for ships in Liverpool and Bristol. During the 1920’s he showed with the short-lived Group X but after he returned to a more straightforward representational style and travelled much abroad. A founder member of Unit One in 1934, he was also impressed at the time with the Abstraction-Création movement in France. In 1943, he was elected an Associate of the RA and in 1952 his work was represented in the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale. A posthumous retrospective exhibition of his work was held in 1951 at the Tate Gallery and a later retrospective was held at the Camden Arts Centre, London in 1990. His work is held in art galleries around the world including ACGB, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, BM, CAS, Cooper Gallery, Barnsley, IWM, Newport Art Gallery, Swindon Art Gallery, Tate, Towner Art Gallery, V&A and the Whitworth Art Gallery.

With thanks to artbiogs.co.uk

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