See W. C. Wees, Vorticism and the English Avant-Garde, 1910-1915 (1972).
The Vorticism group began with the Rebel Art Centre which Wyndham Lewis and others established after disagreeing with Omega Workshops founder Roger Fry, and has roots in the Bloomsbury Group, Cubism, and Futurism.
Though the style grew out of Cubism, it is more closely related to Futurism in its embrace of dynamism, the machine age and all things modern (cf. Cubo-Futurism). However, Vorticism diverged from Futurism in the way that it tried to capture movement in an image. In a Vorticist painting modern life is shown as an array of bold lines and harsh colours drawing the viewer's eye into the centre of the canvas.
The name Vorticism was given to the movement by Ezra Pound in 1913, although Lewis, usually seen as the central figure in the movement, had been producing paintings in the same style for a year or so previously.
Other than Lewis, the main figures associated with the movement were William Roberts, Edward Wadsworth, David Bomberg, Frederick Etchells, Cuthbert Hamilton, Lawrence Atkinson, CRW Nevinson, and the sculptors Jacob Epstein and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska. There were two female artists, Jessica Dismorr, and Helen Saunders associated who were described at the time as Vorticists, though it has been argued that due to the sexism of the art world at the time, these artists have not had their critical due.
The Vorticists published the literary magazine BLAST, which Lewis edited. It contained work by Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot as well as by the Vorticists themselves. Its typographical adventurousness was cited by El Lissitzky as one of the major forerunners of the revolution in graphic design in the 1920s and 1930s.
While Lewis is generally seen as the central figure in the movement, it has been suggested that this was more due to his contacts and ability as a self-publicist and polemicist than the quality of his works. A 1956 exhibition at the Tate Gallery was called Wyndham Lewis and the Vorticists, highlighting his prominent place in the movement. This angered other members of the group. Bomberg and Roberts both protested strongly the
assertion of Lewis, which was printed in the exhibition catalogue: "Vorticism, in fact, was what I, personally, did, and said, at a certain period."
Arts Etc: Blast! It's the Real Thing ; Wyndham Lewis, Ezra Pound, TS Eliot - What a Great Art Movement They Made, Says Tom Rosenthal. So Why Is Vorticism So Neglected?
Jan 25, 2004; We should raise at least two cheers for the Estorick Collection - London's specialist museum of modern Italian art - in mounting...