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Edward Alexander Wadsworth
Photo credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

Edward Alexander Wadsworth 1937

Edward Alexander Wadsworth (1889–1949)

National Portrait Gallery, London

(b Cleckheaton, Yorkshire, 29 Oct. 1889; d London, 21 June 1949). British painter, printmaker, draughtsman, and designer. A friend of Wyndham Lewis, he was a member of the Vorticist group (1914–15); his work of this time included completely abstract pictures such as the stridently geometrical Abstract Composition (1915, Tate, London). In the First World War he worked on designing dazzle camouflage for ships, turning his harsh Vorticist style to practical use. This experience provided the subject for one of his best-known paintings, the huge Dazzle-Ships in Drydock at Liverpool (1919, NG, Ottawa). The lucidity and precision seen here were enhanced when Wadsworth switched from oil painting to tempera in about 1922. At the same time his style changed, as he abandoned Cubist leanings for a more naturalistic idiom.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)


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