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Alma-Tadema and Victorian Painting
in the Pérez-Simón Collection

From 25 June to 12 October 2014 (extended closing date)

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema
The Roses of Heliogabalus (detail)
Oil on canvas
132.7 x 214.4 cm

Pérez-Simón Collection, Mexico

Carmen in Spanish collections

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Pablo Picasso
Illustrations for Le Carmen des Carmen by Prosper Mérimée and Louis Aragon>
Bancaja Collection, Valencia
© Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2014
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Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection

Percy Wyndham Lewis
Composition in Red and Mauve
Pen, ink, chalk and gouache on paper
34.7 x 24.5 cm
© Percy Wyndham Lewis Estate. All rights reserved 2012/ Bridgeman Art Library
Numero de inventario
INV. Nr. 647 (1981.20)

More information about this work

Despite its radical nature , Vorticism was a fleeting art movement . Spearheaded by the American poet Ezra Pound and the painter Wyndham Lewis , it emerged in London shortly before the First World War. The terrible destruction inflicted by what was the first truly mechanised war influenced the Vorticists’ need to highlight the dismal reality of man when pitted against machines. The magazine Blast, which came out in June 1914, published their manifestos Blast and Bless, in which they exalted the “vortex as the point of maximum energy.”

Dated 1915, the present Composition in Red and Mauve , which belonged to the Vorticist painter Helen Saunders , exemplifies the geometrical and abstract style employed at the time to mechanise urban life. The thick black diagonal lines form a sort of scaffolding that rises to the upper part of the composition. Lewis’s repetitive artistic language is close to that of the Italian Futurists. The difference between the two movements, as Lewis wrote in 1939, lay in the fact that Vorticism accepted the world of machines, identified with “the brutality of mechanical life” and sought to achieve “machine forms,” whereas the Futurists aspired only to imitate mechanical movement.

Paloma Alarcó

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