The Articles

Wyndham Lewis’s Art Criticism in The Listener, 1946-51

In 1946 the artist and writer Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957) became an art critic at The Listener, a weekly magazine published by the BBC.

He continued to write reviews of exhibitions held in the art galleries of London until 1951. In that year he became blind, and was unable to go on working as an art critic.

Lewis had been one of the most radical painters to emerge from English cultural life. He was influenced by Cubism and Futurism early in his career. The art movement that he led, called Vorticism, lasted from 1913 to about 1915.

After the First World War he turned to painting and drawing more realistically. But he remained the most thoughtful of British artists, and wrote several books of cultural criticism. He also wrote fiction and political theory.

He was very critical of the established institutions of British visual culture, and in particular the Royal Academy.

This attitude is apparent in his reviews for The Listener. Yet as a critic he quickly recognized who the important new painters were. He was one of the first to praise the work of Francis Bacon.

This project is based at the Universidad de La Rioja in Spain, and the University of Exeter in England. It is financed by an award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council in Britain.

© All images and texts by Wyndham Lewis are copyright the estate of Mrs G. A. Wyndham Lewis. By permission
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