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EDWARD WADSWORTH

Edward Wadsworth, 29 October 1889, (Cleckheaton, United Kingdom); died  21 June 1949, (London, United Kingdom)

Bold use of color; innovative use of perspective; preoccupation with geometric shapes and interchange between light and shade; unusual composition

Edward Alexander Wadsworth ARA (29 October 1889 – 21 June 1949) was an English artist, most famous for his close association with Vorticism. He painted, often in tempera, coastal views, abstracts, portraits and still-life. He was also an engraver on wood and copper. In the First World War he was involved in transferring dazzle camouflage designs onto ships for the Royal Navy, and after the war he continued to paint nautical themes.

Edward Wadsworth was a very talented artist and won first prizes for landscape in 1910 and for figure painting in 1911. He was considered to be one of the leaders of the Coster Gang. The author of A Crisis of Brilliance (2009) has argued: "They all had their own theories on how great art could be produced, with Maxwell Lightfoot and Edward Wadsworth amongst the most fervent in advancing their ideas and advising their peers." One of their teachers, Henry Tonks, recognised their talent but found them too rebellious and later commented: "What a brood I have raised."

 

Wadsworth married a violinist, Fanny Mary Eveleigh, and during the First World War he served the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve as an intelligence officer on the Greek island of Mudros. Later he was employed on the dazzle camouflage campaign. This was a paint scheme used on ships during the war consisting of a complex pattern of geometric shapes in contrasting colours, interrupting and intersecting each other. It did not conceal the ship but made it difficult for the enemy to estimate its type, size and speed. The idea was to disrupt the visual rangefinders used for naval artillery.