This picture, created while Nicholson was living in St Ives, features the bold planes of intersecting colour and pale, semi-transparent layers that were characteristic of the artist’s paintings at this time. It demonstrates his interest in using form and colour in an abstract composition to capture a quality, or feeling, more profoundly than a direct representation.
Feb 55, 1955
One of the leading figures in British twentieth century modernism, Ben Nicholson was a pioneer of abstract art and a key figure of the St Ives School. Born in 1894, he married Winifred Nicholson in 1920 and travelled widely throughout Europe. His work was influenced by pivotal movements in European art such as post-impressionism, cubism and constructivism, though he forged his own distinctly personal response to these genres. By the 1930s his work was almost entirely abstract, and in 1933 he created his first abstract reliefs – three dimensional painted compositions, possibly influenced by his second marriage to the sculptor Barbara Hepworth.