|Ben Nicholson OM (1894-1982) is amongst the most
celebrated and internationally-recognised painters of the 20th century. He was the son of
another distinguished painter, Sir William Nicholson. Ben Nicholson studied at the Slade
School of Arts in London from 1910-1911. He was married to the painter Winifred Nicholson from 1920-1931, and they
lived and painted in London, Cumberland adn Cornwall. His early painting was figurative,
though he soon developed a personal style of abstraction, influenced by Picasso and
Braque. He met Christopher Wood in 1925, and with him
met the naive painter Alfred Wallis on a
visit to Cornwall in 1928. Both were to become important influences. With Wood, he became
a member of the Seven & Five Society.
he visited Paris with the sculptor Barbara Hepworth, and they married in 1934. During this
period he also met Mondrian and Moholy-Nagy, and his work from this time show their
influences as Nicholson developed his own distinctive style. His White Relief paintings
from 1933-1938 were amongst the most important new styles in international abstract art,
without compromise. In general, his reliefs from this period and later throughout his life
were amongst his greatest works.
With Naum Gabo and Sir Leslie Martin, Nicholson edited
CIRCLE, the first monograph on constructivist art, which laid down the guidelines and
principles of the modern movement, and was to become a landmark influence on the thinking
of art historians. From 1939-1958, Ben Nicholson lived in Cornwall, and he exhibited
widely around the world. He had a major retrospective at the Venice Bienanale in 1954, in
1955 and 1995 at the Tate Gallery, and was awarded many international prizes. He married
the photographer Felicitas Vogler in 1958, living in Switzerland for a number of years
before he moved back to England.
Ben Nicholson's output included reliefs, paintings on board
and canvas and exquisite prints and engravings, many of which are represented in the Storm
Fine Arts collection.