As the title of this piece suggests, this is the first abstract Ben Nicholson ever painted and is one of the only works of its kind from the period. Nicholson clearly had a sophisticated understanding of Cubism and its insistence on shallow space and overlapping planes, setting him aside from his peers who were painting still lifes and landscapes in the 20s.
1924 (first abstract painting, Chelsea), 1923-4
Date of work
Ben Nicholson was the son of two artists, his earliest paintings were still lifes influenced by his father’s paintings. He lived in France, Italy and the USA before marrying his second wife Barbara Hepworth in 1938. From 1939 to 1958 he lived and worked in Cornwall.
Nicholson is best known for his abstract works that he created following the end of both World Wars.