Henri Gaudier-Brzeska (1891-1915) was one of the leading figures of European avant-garde sculpture. Gaudier played an important role in the development of modern sculpture in Britain, working alongside Ezra Pound, Jacob Epstein, Roger Fry, Wyndham Lewis and others. Like many artists of his generation, his career was tragically cut short by the war. Having volunteered for the French army in the summer of 1914, he was killed in action the following year, at the age of just twenty-three.
In 1930 Jim Ede, who three years earlier had acquired almost all of Gaudier’s work, published a biography of the sculptor. Entitled A life of Gaudier-Brzeska, the book was re-issued a year later with the title Savage Messiah. Ede’s book played an important role in re-establishing Gaudier’s reputation at a time when he was at risk of fading into obscurity.
This new edition, published in 2011 to mark the centenary of Gaudier's arrival in Britain from France, includes previously unpublished material and new essays that re-contextualise the book art historically. It draws from the 1929 manuscript version of Ede's book, now in the archive at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds, reproducing many of the drawings and photographs first used by Ede.