David Bomberg 1890-1957

 
David Bomberg was one of the most audacious painters of his generation at the Slade. His treatment of the human figure, in terms of angular, clear-cut forms combined with enormous energy, shows his determination to bring about a drastic renewal in British painting.

The direction taken by his art brought him into contact with Wyndham Lewis and the Vorticists, but Bomberg resisted Lewis's attempts to enlist him as a member of the movement.

In 1915 Bomberg enlisted in the Royal Engineers, and his traumatic experiences at the Front brought about a profound transformation in his outlook. Bomberg moved to a more figurative style in the 1920s. His disillusion with the destructive power of the machine at war led to a few years spent experimenting with ways of making his stark pre-war style more rounded and organic.

Throughout the 1930s Bomberg's art became broader and more expressive as he sought to convey the essence of his response to landscapes in Scotland and Spain. This work met with little approval in Britain.

His last years were darkened by the realization that his art remained overlooked in Britain. His final landscapes and figure paintings include some of his most powerful works.


1890
Born in Birmingham on 5 December

1905
Apprenticeship to lithographer Paul Fischer, which he left in 1908 to pursue his training as an artist.

1908-1910
Evening classes at the City and Guilds School and at Westminster School of Art. Taught by Sickert.

1911-1913
Gained place at the Slade School of Fine Art, London, helped by John Singer Sargent and the Jewish Education Aid Society. Won a certificate for drawing in1912.

1912-1915
Acclaim for works such as In the Hold and Ju-Jitsu.

1913
Founder member of the London Group. Met Picasso, Modigliani, and Kisling in Paris.

1915-1918
Served in Royal Engineers.

1923
Left for Palestine.

1924
Undertook six-month expedition to Petra.

1927
Return from Palestine.

1929
First visit to Spain.

1930
Visited Morocco and the Greek Islands.

1932
Painting expeditions to Scotland and Derbyshire with painter Lilian Holt, who later became his wife.

1933
Six-month visit to Russia.

1934-35
Spent 18 months in Spain.

1943-46
Taught drawing at the Borough Polytechnic, London.

1944
Painting expedition to Exmoor and North Devon.

1945
Obtained a teaching post at a school in Dagenham.

1945-49
Taught drawing one day a week at the Bartlett School of Architecture.

1946
Formation of the Borough Group; a few pupils grouped around Bomberg.

1948
Visit to Cyprus.

1953
Formation of the Borough Bottega.

1954-57
Lived in Spain.

1957
Fell ill in Spain, taken to hospital in Gibraltar and died in London on the 19th August.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

1914
First one-man show at the Chenil Galleries, Chelsea.

1923
Heal's Mansard Gallery, London

1928
Leicester Galleries, London

1929
Ruskin Gallery, Birmingham

1932
Bloomsbury Gallery, London

1936
Cooling Galleries, London

1943
Leger Gallery, London

1983
Gillian Jason Gallery, London

1988
Retrospective at the Tate Gallery, London


Selected Bibliography

Alley, Ronald 'David Bomberg's In the Hold, 1913-14', The Burlington Magazine, vol. CX (1968)
Auerbach, Frank. Interview with Catherine Lampert in the catalogue of Frank Auerbach, Hayward Gallery, London, May July 1978
Berger, John. 'David Bomberg' in Permanent Red. Essays in Seeing (London 1960)
Bomberg, David, Interview with the Jewish Chronicle (8 May 1914)
Bomberg, David, Foreword to the catalogue of Works by David Bomberg, Chenil Gallery, London, July 1914
Bomberg, David, Russian Ballet. Text and six colour lithographs (London, The Bomb Shop, 1919)
Bomberg, David. 'Approach to Painting', introduction to the catalogue of First Borough Group Exhibition, Archer Gallery, London, June 1947
Bomberg, David, Letter to the Editor, The New Statesman, 10 July 1948
Bomberg, David, Interview with Oswcll Blakeston, Art and Artists, 16 July 1948
Bomberg, David, Preface to the catalogue of the Third Annual Exhibition of the Borough Group, Arcade Gallery, March 1949
Bomberg, David, Foreword to the catalogue of Exhibition of Drawings and Paintings by the Borough Bottega and L. Marr and D. Scott, Berkeley Galleries, London, November-December 1953
Bomberg, David, 'The Bomberg Papers', ed. D. Wright and P. Swift, X, A Quarterly Review (June 1960)
Bomberg, David 'and Members and Council of the Borough Bottega', Villa Paz Brochure (Ronda 1954)
Causey, Andrew, 'The Two Worlds of David Bomberg', Illustrated London News, 18 March 1967
Cork, Richard, Introduction and notes for the catalogue of Vorticisrn and its Allies, Hayward Gallery, London, March-June 1974
Cork, Richard, Vorticism and Abstract Art in the First Machine Age, Volume 1, Origins and Development (London 1975).
Cork, Richard, Vorticisrn and Abstract Art in the First Machine Age, Volume 2, Synthesis and Decline (London 1976).
Cork, Richard, 'Bomberg in Palestine: The Years of Transitionessay in the catalogue of David Bomberg in Palestine 1923-27, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, autumn 1983.
Cork, Richard, 'A Tribute to Lilian Bomberg', in the catalogue of David Bomberg: A Tribute to Lilian Bomberg, Fischer Fine Art Ltd, London, March-April 1985. With other tributes by Joanna Drew, Cavan O'Brien, Nicholas Serota and David Sylvester.
Cork, Richard, 'Bomberg and the Bomb Store', The Burlington Magazine (July 1986).
Cork, Richard, 'Machine Age, Apocalypse and Pastoral', 'Vorticism, Bomberg and the First World War' and 'Late Bomberg', essays in the catalogue of British Art in the Twentieth Century, Royal Academy, London, January-April 1987
Cork, Richard, David Bomberg (New Haven and London, 1987)
D'Offay, Anthony, Introduction to the catalogue of Abstract Art in England 1913-15, d'Offay Couper Gallery, November-December 1969.
D'Offay, Anthony, 'David and Lilian Bomberg', introduction to the catalogue of David Bomberg 1890 -1957, Works from the collection of Lilian Bomberg, Tate Gallery, London, February - April 1981
Drew, Joanna, catalogue of David Bomberg 1890 -1957, Tate Gallery, London, March - April 1967
Forge, Andrew, Introduction to the catalogue of David Bomberg 1890-1957, an Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings, held at the Arts Council Gallery, London, autumn, 1958.
Forge, Andrew, 'Bomberg's The Mud Bath ', The Listener, 11 November 1965. Partially reprinted in the catalogue of David Bomberg 1890 - 1957, an exhibition held at the Tate Gallery, London, March - April, 1967
Fry, Roger, ' Two Views of the London Group', The Nation, 14 March 1914
Fuller, Peter, 'David Bomberg' in Beyond the Crisis in Art (London, 1980)
Fuller, Peter, 'David Bomberg: Pre-Raphaelite and Beyond', Art Monthly, June 1987
Gross, John, 'The Bomberg Approach', Sunday Times Colour Magazine, 22 March 1964
Holden, Cliff 'David Bomberg: an artist as teacher', Studio International, March 1967
Holt, Lilian, Interview with Sue Arrowsmith, Art Monthly, March 1981
Hulme, T. E., 'Modern Art. IV.- Mr. David Bomberg's Show', The New Age, 9 July 1914
Hulme, T. E., Speculations. Essays on Humanism and the Philosophy of Art, edited by Herbert Read (London 1924)
Hyman, James, The Battle for Realism, Yale University Press, 2001
Hyman, James, 'Radical Figuration', From Life, exhibition catalogue, James Hyman Fine Art, 10 September - 18 October 2003
Kaines Smith, S. C., foreword to the catalogue of An Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings of Palestine and Petra by David Bomberg, Ruskin Gallery, Birmingham, February 1929
Lewis, Wyndham, 'Room III (The Cubist Room)', preface to the catalogue of the Exhibition by the Camden Town Group and Others, Brighton Public Art Galleries,December 1913 - January 1914
Lewis, Wyndham, note in the catalogue of The First Exhibition of the Vorticist Group, opening 10th June 1915 at the Doré Galleries,London
Lewis, Wyndham, 'Round the London Galleries', The Listener, 10th March 1949
Lipke, William C., David Bomberg: A Critical Study of His Life and Work, with an appendix devoted to a selection of Bomberg's writings (London 1967)
Lipke, William C., 'Structure in textures of colour', essay in the catalogue of David Bomberg: 1890 -1957: Paintings and Drawings, at the Tate Gallery, London, March-April 1967
Michelmore, Richard, Introduction to catalogue David Bomberg - The Teacher, 15 Bury Walk Gallery, October 1986
Neve, Christopher, 'The Divided View. David Bomberg in Ronda, Andalucia', Country Life, 23 May 1985
Newmark, J., 'The Rose-red City of Petra', The Studio, August 1932
Oxlade, Roy, David Bomberg 1890-1957, RCA Papers No.3 (London 1977)
Oxlade, Roy, 'A Rejection of Bomberg Comes Home ', Art Monthly, December 1979
Rachum, Stephanie, 'David Bomberg: Views from the Jewish-Zionist Side', essay in the catalogue of David Bomberg in Palestine 1923-1927, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, autumn1983
Read, Herbert, 'Bomberg', Arts Gazette,13 September 1919
Roberts, William, The Vortex Pamphlets1956-1958 (London 1958)
Roberts, William, Early Years (London1982)
Robertson, Bryan, 'David Bomberg', The Studio, January 1946.
Rodker, John, 'The New Movement in Art', Dial Monthly, May 1914
Rodker, John, Poems (privately printed, London 1914).
Rothenstein, John, Chapter on Bomberg in Modern English Painters. Volume Two.Nash to Bawden (London 1984)
Russell, John, 'London', Art News, May1967
Spencer, Charles, 'David Bomberg1890-1957', The Studio, October 1958
Spencer, Charles, 'Bomberg Comes Home', Art Monthly, November 1979
Spencer, Charles, 'Anglo Jewish Artists: The Migrant Generations', essay in the catalogue of The Immigrant Generations: Jewish Artists in Britain 1900-1945, Jewish Museum, New York, 1983
Spurling, John, Introduction to the catalogue of David Bomberg: The Later Years, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, September-October 1979
Storrs, Sir Ronald, 'David Bomberg', preface to the catalogue of Paintings of Palestine and Petra by David Bomberg, Leicester Galleries, London, February 1928
Storrs, Sir Ronald, Orientations (London, 1937)
Sylester, David, 'Round the London Art Galleries', The Listener, 18 September 1958.
Sylvester, David, 'Bomberg and Whistler', The New Statesman, 17 September 1960.
Sylvester, David, Introduction to the catalogue of David Bomberg 1890-1957, Marlborough Fine Art, London, March 1964.
Sylvester, David, `The Discovering of a Structure', essay in the catalogue of David Bomberg 1890-1957, Tate Gallery, London, March-April 1967
Sylvester, David, 'Selected Criticism', essay in the catalogue of Bomberg. Paintings, Drawings, Watercolonrs and Lithographs, Fischer Fine Art, London, March-April 1973
Wees, William C., Vorticism and the English Avant-Garde (Toronto and Manchester 1972).


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