About the Portrait
Although it may be the most memorable of his self portraits, Mr Wyndham Lewis as a Tyro is not a definitive image of the artist. The sheer diversity of his self portraits demonstrates Lewis’s views on the changeable nature of the human psyche; self portraits were an opportunity for him to project a constructed persona, rather than to reveal his own true self. Lewis consciously avoided creating a definitive self portrait, explaining that “an attempt to do so would only lead to one’s appearing either too pleased with oneself or not pleased enough.”
The self-portrait was first exhibited in the ‘Tyros and Portraits’ exhibition at the Leicester Galleries in 1921, along with other paintings of Tyros, but Lewis’s self portrait and A Reading of Ovid (Tyros) (1920-1) are the only surviving oil paintings of Tyro subjects.