Searchlights

Nevinson, Christopher Richard Wynne

Given to the Leeds Art Collections Fund in 1916, reputedly after it had been turned down by the Tate Gallery.

Nevinson, Christopher Richard Wynne (1889-1946)

This remarkable ‘war’ painting shows the searchlights at Hungerford Bridge at Charing Cross in 1915, surely a remarkable and new visual experience for anyone at that time.

For the artist, Nevinson, an admirer of the Italian Futurists, especially Marinetti, it was almost a symbol of the modern world. He and his fellow Vorticists – the first genuinely avant-garde art movement to emerge in England just before the First World War – believed that the machine age represented the future for art as well as life.

Their art derived from the multi viewpoint imagery of Cubism while the jagged lines, busy surface, and shattered forms seemed particularly appropriate to the machine imagery of war scenes.

Nevinson lived in Paris 1912 – 13 where he shared a studio with Modigliani and came to know the Italian Futurists. He began plans for an English version of the movement and published ‘Vital English Art: A Futurist Manifesto’ in June 1914.

When war broke out Nevinson joined up and eventually he became an official war artist specialising in views of planes and land from the air.   

Nevinson

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