David Bomberg is now regarded as one of the greatest British artists and teachers of the twentieth century. His work with the Vorticist group, along with the work he made as a teacher at the Borough Polytechnic, inspired a generation of artists including Kossoff and Auerbach.

 

Born in Birmingham to a Polish Jewish family, Bomberg's education began in earnest, with a move to London in 1905 where he took evening classes under Walter Bayes at the City & Guilds. Later, he was fortunate to study under Walter Sickert at the Central School of Art and Westminster College, before joining the ranks of the 'golden generation' at the Slade School. At the start of the twentieth century, he worked for a period at Roger Fry's Omega Workshop. Subsequently, he traveled to Paris, meeting Picasso, Derain and Modigliani; this was where he attracted the attention of Wyndham Lewis, who invited him into the Vorticist fold.

 

The war was to have a profound effect on the artist and his work, as it did to many of his contemporaries. As World War I commenced, Bomberg returned to England, greatly affected by the cessation of violence and destruction. As a result, he pulled back from the near abstraction of his Vorticist work to a more figurative and expressionist style.

 

As a driving force in the formation of the Borough group in 1946, and a founding member of the London Group, Bomberg is acknowledged to be a pioneer of twentieth century painting. The Borough Group centered on those figures taught by Bomberg at the Borough Polytechnic and included the aforementioned Auerbach and Kossoff, but also notable artists such as Dennis Creffield. Borough University (as it is now) holds a significant collection of the artist's work. The Tate Gallery held a major retrospective of the artist work in 1988.