The Rebel Art Centre,
and Wyndham Lewis
Left: Lechmere was the model for
Smiling Woman Ascending a Stair
by Wyndham Lewis, 1912.
"Wyndham Lewis from 1912"
by Jeffrey Meyers
is now available as a free download online:
Journal of Modern Literature
Vol. 10, No.1 (March 1983), pp.158-166
published by: Indiana University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3831204
from: Women that a movement forgot: The Vorticists I
By Brigid Peppin
May 2011, Tate Etc. issue 22: Summer 2011
The Futurist C.R.W. Nevinson, discussing the formation of the Rebel Art Centre with Wyndham Lewis, is reputed to have said: “Let’s not have any of those damned women.” In fact, the centre was financed by Lewis’s then lover, the Cubist painter Kate Lechmere. She paid three months’ rent for the premises, made the soft furnishings and played a crucial role in the genesis of Vorticism by lending Lewis £100 towards printing the first issue of BLAST. Though “blessed” in the journal, she did not sign the manifesto, and was later to describe Dismorr and Saunders (to art historian Richard Cork) as “little lap dogs who wanted to be Lewis’s slaves and do everything for him”. By 1915 she had distanced herself from both Lewis and Vorticism, and no painting by her is known to survive.
from: Lady in the Dark: Iris Barry and the Art of Film
By Robert Sitton
Columbia University Press, 2014, p.55
Alas, the great
Vorticist Rebel Art Center proved a bust.
"Initially, the Centre had high aspirations,"
according to William Wees in his study of Vorticism.
"Its prospectus made the Rebel Art Centre sound like
a mixture of Omega, Kensington Town Hall, the Slade,
Saturday afternoons at 19 Fitzroy Street, and the
recently closed Cave of the Golden Calf." There were
to be lectures by Marinetti, Pound, 'some great
innovator in music, Schoenburg or Scriabin,' and
others. Some 'short plays or Ombres Chinoise,'
dances, and other 'social entertainments' were
promised, along with special exhibitions and
'Saturday afternoon meetings of artists from 4 to 6
p.m .' There was also to be 'a Blast evening, or
meeting to celebrate the foundation and appearance
of the Review in that name,' and at that event, said
the prospectus, 'a manifesto of Rebel Art will be
read and an address given, to the sound of carefully
chosen trumpets.' An ambitious art school was to
open on 26 April1914, offering not only drawing and
painting, but 'instruction in various forms of
applied art, such as painting of screens, fans,
lampshades, scarves. Mr.Wyndham Lewis will
visit the studio, as professor, five days a week.'
"A few of the
promised activities took place," Wees recounts.
"Marinetti appeared, Pound talked on Vorticism (and
published a version of the talk in the Fortnightly
Review in September 1914), and Ford Madox Ford
lectured, only to have his peroration interrupted by
Lewis' large Plan of War, which suddenly fell off
the wall and on to Ford, knocking the canvas loose
and trapping Ford inside the frame. Some 'workshop'
items were made and displayed at the Allied Artists'
exhibition in June 1914. But the Centre's major
project, its art school, never materialized, and
Lewis did not get to try out the role of professor
of art. Only two applicants turned up, according to
Kate Lechmere, 'a man who wished to improve
the design of gas-brackets and a lady