Abstract composition with figures entwined. c.1910-15 Linocut
- Height: 226 millimetres
- Width: 279 millimetres
Inscription ContentAnnotated in pen below the image, "Brodzky imp. 8/50. Wrestlers linocut print cut by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska".
Text in Frances Carey & Antony Griffiths, 'Avant-Garde British Printmaking 1914-1960', BMP, 1990
Brodzky described this and other attempts at printmaking by Gaudier in his book of 1933:
"Brzeska saw me at work, cutting designs at my home, and he decided to do some also. Being near Christmas time he cut a version of his 'Wrestlers' to be used as a card. It is reproduced here and is his only effort at cutting. It was printed on my etching-press. At the same time he often brought me his etched plates for printing. The subjects included heads, cats, and a skull. The plates were etched on both sides for economy, and after I had pulled proofs for him he would deface the plate and etch other designs, the same plate being used several times. He also made a dry-point portrait of myself on the spur of the moment. It was done on the back of a discarded plate, which accounts for the many scrapes and corrosion shown in the plate . .. Only two prints were pulled, each of us retaining one" (pp.44-5).
An impression of the drypoint, dedicated to Brodzky, was presented to the British Museum by A.W.Brickell in 1935.
The original lino block and a proof impression from it were presented to the Victoria and Albert Museum by Brodzky in 1934. It seems most unlikely that an edition of 50 was ever completed, but in any case the impressions numbered by Brodzky must have been printed posthumously. The sculptural exercise of cutting the lino block presumably appealed to Gaudier, who based his design on a plaster relief of 1914 of the same subject (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; one of the nine casts of this relief is in the collection of the Tate Gallery). Gaudier-Brzeska's interest in the subject of wrestlers seems to have arisen early in 1913 when he made numerous drawings from life at the London Wrestling Club off Fleet Street.
The print was included in the 'First Exhibition of British Linocuts' at the Redfern Gallery in 1929 as one of the more expensive items, at 3 guineas.
French XXc Mounted Roy
1986 Apr-May, Plymouth, Plymouth Museum and AG, 'Sporting Life'
1990/1 Sep-Jan, BM, Avant-Garde British Printmaking 1914-1960, no.18
1991/2 Nov-Jan, Middlesborough AG, Avant-Garde British Printmaking
1992 Feb-April, Plymouth City Mus & AG, Avant-Garde British Printmaking
1992 May-June, Glasgow, Hunterian AG, Avant-Garde British Printmaking
1992 Oct-Dec, Manchester, Whitworth AG, Avant-Garde British Printmaking
Prints & Drawings
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Object reference number: PPA9033
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