By Sarah Jane Checkland
This booklet coincides not just with the thirtieth anniversary of Nicholson’s loss of life, yet with landmark exhibitions in London that includes his paintings, ‘Picasso and glossy British artwork’ at Tate Britain and ‘Mondrian/ Nicholson in Parallel’ on the Courtauld Galleries.
The publication is filled with clean and interesting insights into an artist who loved around the world acclaim in the course of his lifetime, yet whose value has consequently been overshadowed by means of his contemporaries Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, Nicholson’s moment spouse. It unearths Nicholson’s exact function not just in growing that lasting icon of Thirties British artwork – his white reduction – yet in forging a bridge among conservative London and the pioneers of the eu avant-garde, together with Picasso, Braque, Mondrian and Gabo.
It used to be thank you principally to Nicholson’s encouragement that Mondrian and Gabo got here to dwell in Britain sooner than the 2d 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 grew to become either catalyst and king to the influential avant-garde paintings colony which quickly sprung up round him. in the course of the Nineteen Fifties and Sixties, he supplied notion and aid to a iteration of more youthful artists together with Patrick Heron, Peter Lanyon, Terry Frost and Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, whereas successful many foreign artwork prizes.
Nicholson’s tale is peppered with mythical names from the historical past of modernism. except these pointed out above, neighbors and associates 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 lots like a ping-pong ball that he may even jump within the air and play along with his head…” This ebook indicates how, faraway from being the austere personality projected by means of himself and his critics, Nicholson’s used to be a quixotic personality, passionate about ball-games and notice play. It additionally finds 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 kinfolk history, whereas environment the precedent for the succession of triangular relationships which outlined his deepest existence, such a lot significantly together with his first other halves, the painter Winifred Nicholson and Hepworth. the ultimate revelation is the reliance positioned by means of Nicholson, and either one of his artist other halves, on Christian Science.
Since graduating in positive paintings on the college of East Anglia, Sarah Jane Checkland has written largely on artwork, as critic, characteristic author and paintings industry correspondent, so much significantly for the London occasions. Her web 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 stated concerning the first edition:
‘[An] immensely thorough and stress-free documentation of his life.….a monument to painstaking research…(The Observer)
“a splendidly witty, well-researched, perceptive and
accessible biography, filled with anecdote and research. The inventive kaleidoscope of the 20 th century tumbles helter-skelter via it, each circulation represented, from Abstraction to Vorticism” Harpers
“… particularly strong 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 ability struggles, the cliques, the jealousies and petty rivalries, his self-serving crankiness and Christian technology. Literary overview
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