Claude Flight Summer c. 1926

  • Not on view

Although he tried his hand at farming, engineering, library work, and beekeeping, Claude Flight is best remembered for his work as a pioneer of the linoleum cut. The artist made his first such prints in 1919, eventually completing at least sixty-four, in addition to eight woodcuts. Although other artists had experimented with the technique, linoleum cut was not commonly thought of as a fine art medium in the early twentieth century. Flight, however, saw in it the potential for a truly democratic art form: the materials and tools necessary were inexpensive, and printing could be done by hand. His hope was that linoleum cuts would become a part of everyday culture, available at reasonable prices to even the working class, and part of a lending collection at the local library. His efforts in support of the medium were exhaustive: he wrote textbooks on the subject; organized annual traveling exhibitions; and edited the magazine Arts and Crafts Quarterly. Most importantly, he taught at London's Grosvenor School of Art, where he imparted to his students his love and knowledge of the medium, guaranteeing generations of practitioners.

Flight was influenced by Italian Futurism's wholehearted embrace of the speed and dynamism of the new machine age, and the abstracted visual style of the short-lived British movement called Vorticism, which flourished between 1914 and 1917. He developed a signature abstracted Vorticist style, full of rhythmic lines and geometric forms, that is visible in Summer, part of a cycle depicting the four seasons, and in Paris Omnibus. Both demonstrate his fascination with and appreciation for modern technology and the urban experience. In the latter, a departing bus deposits two passengers visible at the lower right, in a scene that captures what he referred to as "an expression of the busy life around us."

Publication excerpt from an essay by Sarah Suzuki, in Deborah Wye, Artists and Prints: Masterworks from The Museum of Modern Art, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2004, p. 74.
Linoleum cut
composition: 10 1/8 x 12" (25.7 x 30.5 cm); sheet: 10 1/4 x 12 9/16" (26 x 31.9 cm)
Claude Flight, London
Claude Flight, London
Gift of Dorothy Braude Edinburg Collection
Object number
© 2024 Estate of Claude Flight
Drawings and Prints

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