By Sarah Jane Checkland
This e-book coincides not just with the thirtieth anniversary of Nicholson’s dying, yet with landmark exhibitions in London that includes his paintings, ‘Picasso and smooth British paintings’ at Tate Britain and ‘Mondrian/ Nicholson in Parallel’ on the Courtauld Galleries.
The ebook is stuffed with clean and engaging insights into an artist who loved world wide acclaim in the course of his lifetime, yet whose value has accordingly been overshadowed by way of his contemporaries Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, Nicholson’s moment spouse. It unearths Nicholson’s particular function not just in developing that lasting icon of Nineteen Thirties British artwork – his white reduction – yet in forging a bridge among conservative London and the pioneers of the ecu avant-garde, together with Picasso, Braque, Mondrian and Gabo.
It was once thank you principally to Nicholson’s encouragement that Mondrian and Gabo got here to reside in Britain ahead of the second global conflict. whereas Mondrian grew to become Nicholson’s neighbour in Belsize Park, London, Gabo fled with Nicholson and Hepworth to the Cornish city of St Ives, the place Nicholson turned either catalyst and king to the influential avant-garde artwork colony which quickly sprung up round him. throughout the Nineteen Fifties and Sixties, he supplied suggestion and help to a new release of more youthful artists together with Patrick Heron, Peter Lanyon, Terry Frost and Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, whereas successful many overseas paintings prizes.
Nicholson’s tale is peppered with mythical names from the heritage of modernism. except these pointed out above, associates and co-workers featured contain Constantin Brancusi, Arp, Moholy-Nagy, Wyndham Lewis, David Bomberg, David Piper, Graham Sutherland, Alfred Wallis and Christopher wooden.
“Darting the following and there in his sea blue trousers and white undershirt, his bald head bob bobbing approximately loads like a ping-pong ball that he might even bounce within the air and play together with his head…” This publication exhibits how, faraway from being the austere personality projected by means of himself and his critics, Nicholson’s was once a quixotic personality, passionate about ball-games and note play. It additionally unearths the painful episode within which his father – the well-known painter Sir William Nicholson – stole away Ben’s fiancée, pitting him opposed to the “sophistication” of his family members historical past, whereas environment the precedent for the succession of triangular relationships which outlined his inner most existence, such a lot significantly together with his first other halves, the painter Winifred Nicholson and Hepworth. the ultimate revelation is the reliance positioned through Nicholson, and either one of his artist better halves, on Christian Science.
Since graduating in positive paintings on the collage of East Anglia, Sarah Jane Checkland has written greatly on artwork, as critic, function author and artwork industry correspondent, so much particularly for the London instances. Her site, www.sarahjanecheckland.co.uk presents hyperlinks to exhibitions and occasions in terms of Nicholson and his contemporaries, in addition to her weblog.
What the critics acknowledged in regards to the first edition:
‘[An] immensely thorough and relaxing documentation of his life.….a monument to painstaking research…(The Observer)
“a splendidly witty, well-researched, perceptive and
accessible biography, full of anecdote and research. The creative kaleidoscope of the 20 th century tumbles helter-skelter via it, each stream represented, from Abstraction to Vorticism” Harpers
“… in particular stable at the strength performs at which Nicholson used to be a earlier master.” Sunday Telegraph
Carefully researched and entertaining
Times Literary Supplement
….a tale …gripping in its awfulness: the facility struggles, the cliques, the jealousies and petty rivalries, his self-serving crankiness and Christian technological know-how. Literary evaluate
eBook version, with out illustrations, and with footnotes in separate part on the finish.
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Ben Nicholson: The Vicious Circles of His Life & Art by Sarah Jane Checkland