Rhythms of Modern Life

Bridgeman now representing Cyril Power for licensing. Over 60 vibrant linocut designs.

The Tube Train, c.1934 (linocut), Power, Cyril Edward (1874-1951) / Private Collection / © Redfern Gallery, London / Bridgeman Images

 

 

Cyril Edward Power (1872–1951) was an architect in his early fifties when he exchanged careers to avant garde linocut printmaker, becoming a leading member of the Grosvenor School of Modern Art in London under the inspirational leadership of Claude Flight. 

High quality resolution scans of fine art prints by the artist, from the late 1920s and 30s, include expressionistic scenes of The London Underground and dynamic, stylized sporting images which we believe could be of interest todesigners in the run up to the Olympics. This coincides with a recent revival of Cyril Power and his contemporaries with exhibitions throughout the United States.

For the first time over sixty of Power's unique designs will be available for licensing with Bridgeman managing copyright clearence on behalf of The Cyril Power Estate.

 

The Merry-Go-Round, c.1930 (linocut), Power, Cyril Edward (1874-1951) / Private Collection / Photo © Osborne Samuel Ltd, London / Bridgeman Images
What was the linocut?

The linocut print  is a relief print made from linoleum fastened to a wooden block. It was introduced by the German Expressionists and was promoted as a non-elitist, widely comprehensive new art form, whose figurative, semi-abstract language was one of radical simplification.
 
It was the perfect medium for evoking the restlessness of modern life and complimented the cultural manifesto, ‘Aims of the Art Today,’ jointly composed by Power and Sybil Andrews in 1924, arguing for radical modernity in art to match an industrial society.

The polemic tones were in keeping with the Italian Futurists and English Vorticists a decade before yet the mechanically hard edged and jagged style, fast becoming associated with Fascist propaganda, was supplanted by a more fluid pattern and rhythm, conveying a more poetic yet still dynamic urban experience.

Power wished to evoke the spirit of a tumultuous age

For all the advances in terms of leisure and popular culture in the 20s and 30s it was also the era of the Great Depression with political and economic instability, an age we can resonate with today.

This edginess is hinted at in a number of Power’s prints. The Merry Go-Round may be decoratively playful yet it also seems to be on the verge of heading out of control. 

A series of prints on the London Underground, including Whence and Whither? also lack the Futuristic excitement of the rush hour as faceless commuters seem to descend into the underworld.

Stylistic tricks are used to convey a hallucinatory realism. In The Exam Room the tension and pressure of this universal experience is communicated as exam room wall, ceiling and floor slant disorientating as students sit transfixed at their desk.

 
The Eight, 1930 (linocut), Power, Cyril Edward (1874-1951) / Private Collection / Photo © Osborne Samuel Ltd, London / Bridgeman Images

 

 

When we say a work of Art has form, we mean its instinct with Life.’ Cyril Power, 1924

In linocut prints made in a period of just over a decade, Power explored aspects of society around him in an authentically avant-garde spirit, which can be appreciated for their dynamism and decorative design nearly a century on. 

Source: Cyril Power Linocuts: A Complete Catalogue, 2008, by Philip Vann

View all Cyril Power Prints
View all Linocuts

 
Acrobats (linocut), Power, Cyril Edward (1874-1951) / Private Collection / Photo © Osborne Samuel Ltd, London / Bridgeman Images
The Sunshine Roof, c.1934 (litho), Power, Cyril Edward (1874-1951) / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images

 

 


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