Ben Nicholson (1894-1982) is widely considered to be one of the most important artists to have emerged from Britain in the last hundred years. In the early 1920s he first saw Cubist paintings and began producing Cubist-influenced works: other informative influences included the Cornish naive painter Alfred Wallis; the sculptor Barbara Hepworth who became his second wife; and the avant-garde artists he encountered in Paris that included Braque, Mondrian and Picasso.
In 1934 he made the first of a series of white reliefs that were hailed as the most uncompromisingly avant-garde works produced by any English artist, bringing him to international prominence. In 1939, Nicholson and Hepworth returned to live in St Ives, where he was to remain for the next two decades, becoming the nucleus of the school of artists that was at the vanguard of a British modern movement.
Accompanying a major touring exhibition, this fully illustrated survey concentrates on the years Nicholson spent in Britain, before he left to live in Switzerland in 1959. Works discussed date from the 1920s right through to the 1950s, and range from landscape drawings and paintings, Cubist still-lifes and a range of the both abstract and landscape-inspired works he made in St Ives during the second world war. With essays by leading authorities on Nicholson, this book will shed light on aspects of Nicholson’s work and inspiration that have previously been overlooked or misunderstood, deepening our appreciation of the achievements of one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century.