The dazzling graphic art of Edward Wadsworth
Just love this print of Edward Wadsworth’s Drydocked for Scaling and Painting (Liverpool). It’s a picture of one of his “dazzle ships” from World War I, so called because they deployed a “dazzle camouflage” in an attempt to mess with the minds of the German navy. The technique could disrupt the visual rangefinders used for naval artillery; so making it more difficult for the enemy to detect a be-dazzled ship’s precise distance and speed. Amazingly, the design exploited Wadworth’s experience as a vorticist painter, a British brand of cubo-futurism, that used bold, abstracted lines that similarly tricked the eye.
* A painting of his dazzle ships hangs in National Gallery in Ottawa and it celebrates the dazzling ships with equal boldness.