By Sarah Jane Checkland
This ebook coincides not just with the thirtieth anniversary of Nicholson’s dying, yet with landmark exhibitions in London that includes his paintings, ‘Picasso and sleek British paintings’ at Tate Britain and ‘Mondrian/ Nicholson in Parallel’ on the Courtauld Galleries.
The booklet 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 in this case been overshadowed by way of his contemporaries Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, Nicholson’s moment spouse. It finds Nicholson’s specified function not just in developing that lasting icon of Thirties British paintings – his white aid – 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 mostly to Nicholson’s encouragement that Mondrian and Gabo got here to dwell in Britain sooner than the 2d international battle. 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 artwork colony which quickly sprung up round him. throughout the Fifties and Nineteen Sixties, he supplied concept and help 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 background of modernism. except these pointed out above, buddies 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 bounce within the air and play together with his head…” This ebook indicates how, faraway from being the austere personality projected by way of himself and his critics, Nicholson’s was once a quixotic personality, keen about ball-games and be aware 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 relations history, whereas surroundings the precedent for the succession of triangular relationships which outlined his deepest existence, such a lot significantly together with his first better halves, the painter Winifred Nicholson and Hepworth. the ultimate revelation is the reliance put by way of Nicholson, and either one of his artist better halves, on Christian Science.
Since graduating in fantastic paintings on the college of East Anglia, Sarah Jane Checkland has written generally on paintings, as critic, function author and paintings industry correspondent, such a lot particularly for the London occasions. Her web site, www.sarahjanecheckland.co.uk offers hyperlinks to exhibitions and occasions with regards to 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 creative kaleidoscope of the 20th century tumbles helter-skelter via it, each circulation represented, from Abstraction to Vorticism” Harpers
“… specially reliable at the energy 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