A RETROSPECTIVE featuring one of Britain's leading artist's Wyndham Lewis opens on Friday at the Imperial War Museum(IWM) North

The exhibition will present Lewis's 'Life, Art, War' in the largest UK retrospective of the artist and writer’s work to date which will be featured until January 1, 2018.

A radical force in British art and literature, Lewis was the founder of Britain’s only true avant-garde movement, Vorticism, which was a short lived early 20th century movement in art and poetry, which saw itself as an alternative to Cubism, Futurism and Expressionism, although it had its own origins in all three.

Lewis was a controversial figure whose ideas, opinions and personality inspired, enticed and repelled in equal measure.

In 1917 Lewis was commissioned as an official war artist and the exhibition will comprise more than 160 artworks, books, journals and pamphlets from major public and private, national and international collections.

The exhibition will also chart Lewis’ ‘underground’ period of reflection and reinvention after the First World War, when his career as a writer began in earnest. It will further chart Lewis’s period of self-imposed exile in North America in the 1940s and his descent into total blindness upon his return to London after the Second World War.

Exhibition highlights include The Crowd (1915), from Tate, a large oil painting from Lewis’ Vorticist period; The Armada (1937 ) from Vancouver Art Gallery; alongside works from Lewis’ period as an official war artist such as the monumental canvas A Battery Shelled (1919) from Imperial War Museums’ collection.

Richard Slocombe,curator of the exhibition said: “One never really gets to the bottom of Wyndham Lewis, he is elusive and contrarian. That’s what makes him so fascinating.

"Lewis lived through incredibly turbulent times where war, or the threat of war, was ever present. This exhibition will shed light on the work of a highly gifted, original, but often ignored artist and one of the great personalities of the twentieth century."