My 100th Post: The 1910 Room at The Tate

To celebrate my 100th post, I thought a quick look at my favourite art period was called for. These two photographs epitomise what it is I love about the 1910 room at The Tate. I hadn’t considered the way in which the pieces are placed together before so decided to photograph the statues alongside the paintings yesterday.

The Arrival -CRW Nevinson

Workshop -Percy Wyndham Lewis

Singer -Henri Gaudier-Brzeska

Nevinson and Wyndham Lewis are in parallel here with their vorticist style. Together, they are a powerful example of how the movement sought to eliminate the notion of decorative art and instead, to depict modern life through a form of abstraction.

From The Tate:

This work, typical of Nevinson’s Futurist period, aroused much comment when it was exhibited in 1915 as ‘My Arrival in Dunkirk’ (that it was this work is confirmed by the contemporary reproductions in the Daily Express, 25 February 1915, and the Daily Graphic, 5 March 1915). It was probably the work already exhibited as ‘The Arrival’ the year before, when a review in the Star said of it: ‘It resembles a Channel steamer after a violent collision with a pier. You detect funnels, smoke, gangplanks, distant hotels, numbers, posters all thrown into the melting-pot, so to speak. Mr Nevinson acted as interpreter, explaining that it represented a “state of simultaneous mind”.’

Lewis’s painting Workshop epitomises Vorticism’s aims, using sharp angles and shifting diagonals to suggest the geometry of modern buildings. Its harsh colours and lines echo the discordant vitality of the modern city in an ‘attack on traditional harmony’. The group’s aggressive rhetoric, angular style and focus on the energy of modern life linked it to Italian Futurism, though it did not share the latter’s emphasis on speed and dynamism.”

Dancer -Henri Gaudier-Brzeska

La Miltrallieuse -CRW Nevinson

I love the sensuous fluidity of Gaudier’s dancer. It was influenced by theories of creative energy and of the world in a state of constant flux, proposed by the philosopher Henri Bergson. This is in stark contrast to the dark palette, sharp angles and fixed expressions and rigidity of the men who are in tune with their machines in Nevinson’s work.