Ben Nicholson: The Vicious Circles of His Life & Art by Sarah Jane Checkland

By Sarah Jane Checkland

The much-lauded biography of Ben Nicholson (1894-1982) – Britain’s prime twentieth century modernist and summary painter – is again after well known call for as an ebook.
This e-book coincides not just with the thirtieth anniversary of Nicholson’s demise, yet with landmark exhibitions in London that includes his paintings, ‘Picasso and glossy British paintings’ at Tate Britain and ‘Mondrian/ Nicholson in Parallel’ on the Courtauld Galleries.
The e-book is stuffed with clean and engaging insights into an artist who loved around the world acclaim in the course of his lifetime, yet whose importance has hence been overshadowed by way of his contemporaries Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, Nicholson’s moment spouse. It finds Nicholson’s distinct position not just in growing 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 earlier than the second global battle. whereas Mondrian turned Nicholson’s neighbour in Belsize Park, London, Gabo fled with Nicholson and Hepworth to the Cornish city of St Ives, the place Nicholson turned either catalyst and king to the influential avant-garde paintings colony which quickly sprung up round him. through the Fifties and Nineteen Sixties, he supplied suggestion and aid to a iteration of more youthful artists together with Patrick Heron, Peter Lanyon, Terry Frost and Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, whereas profitable many overseas paintings prizes.
Nicholson’s tale is peppered with mythical names from the background of modernism. except these pointed out above, associates and co-workers featured contain Constantin Brancusi, Arp, Moholy-Nagy, Wyndham Lewis, David Bomberg, David Piper, Graham Sutherland, Alfred Wallis and Christopher wooden.
“Darting right here and there in his sea blue trousers and white undershirt, his bald head bob bobbing approximately rather a lot like a ping-pong ball that he might even bounce within the air and play along with his head…” This publication indicates how, faraway from being the austere personality projected by way of himself and his critics, Nicholson’s was once a quixotic personality, enthusiastic about ball-games and be aware play. It additionally finds the painful episode in which his father – the recognized painter Sir William Nicholson – stole away Ben’s fiancée, pitting him opposed to the “sophistication” of his kinfolk history, whereas environment the precedent for the succession of triangular relationships which outlined his deepest existence, such a lot significantly along with his first other halves, the painter Winifred Nicholson and Hepworth. the ultimate revelation is the reliance positioned through Nicholson, and either one of his artist better halves, on Christian Science.
Since graduating in positive artwork on the college of East Anglia, Sarah Jane Checkland has written commonly on paintings, as critic, function author and artwork marketplace correspondent, such a lot significantly for the London instances. Her web site, presents hyperlinks to exhibitions and occasions on the subject of Nicholson and his contemporaries, in addition to her weblog.

What the critics acknowledged concerning the first edition:
‘[An] immensely thorough and relaxing documentation of his life.….a monument to painstaking research…(The Observer)

“a splendidly witty, well-researched, perceptive and
accessible biography, full of anecdote and research. The creative kaleidoscope of the 20th century tumbles helter-skelter via it, each stream represented, from Abstraction to Vorticism” Harpers

“… specially reliable at the energy performs at which Nicholson was once 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 technology. Literary evaluation

eBook version, with out illustrations, and with footnotes in separate part on the finish.

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