Ben Nicholson  (British, 1894-1982) 

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Ben Nicholson (British, 1894–1982), an original member of the St. Ives School, was born in 1894 in Denham, Buckinghamshire. The son of two artists, William Nicholson and Mabel Pryde, Nicholson’s earliest influence was his father. The artist’s early works consisted solely of still life and landscape subjects. In 1910, he enrolled at the Slade School of Fine Art, where he trained as an artist alongside peers Paul Nash (British, 1889–1946), Mark Gertler (British, 1892–1939), and Edward Wadsworth (British, 1889–1949).

A trip to Paris introduced Nicholson to Post-Impressionist and Cubist works, which inspired the artist to create his own work within these European movements. It was an introduction to Piet Mondrian (Dutch, 1872–1944) that set the Abstract tone to Nicholson’s newly influenced work. Nicholson’s gift was the ability to incorporate these trends into his own style. His first solo exhibition was held at the Twenty-one Gallery in London in 1924. That same year, he became chair of both the Seven and Five Society and Unit One, which was founded by Paul Nash. Nicholson created his first wood relief in 1933; this became his most celebrated work. The piece, entitled White Relief, was a simplified geometrical work of whitewashed circles and rectangles.

Years later, the artist became coeditor of an influential monograph on Constructivism in 1937, along with artist Naum Gabo (British/Russian, 1890–1977) and architect Sir Leslie Martinan. The monograph aimed to apply Constructivist principles to public and private art. Nicholson had his first retrospective at the Tate Gallery in London in 1955. One year later, he won first prize at the Carnegie International, Pittsburgh. He also won the international prize for painting at the Sao Paulo Biennial in 1957. He has held various retrospective exhibitions since, and his works can be seen at the Tate Gallery, Tate St Ives, Kettle’s Yard Art Gallery, and the Hepworth Wakefield. His work is still seen today as the epitome of British Modernism. The artist died on February 6, 1982.

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Ben Nicholson, Spanners by moonset

 

Ben Nicholson
Spanners by moonset
1973

Waterhouse & Dodd
Ben Nicholson, August 1958 (Ronco 57)

 

Ben Nicholson
August 1958 (Ronco 57)
Merville Galleries
Ben Nicholson, Painting

 

Ben Nicholson
Painting
1939

Galería Leandro Navarro
Ben Nicholson, Menalon

 

Ben Nicholson
Menalon
1970

Galería Leandro Navarro
Ben Nicholson, Oct 63 (Peg Top)

 

Ben Nicholson
Oct 63 (Peg Top)
1963

Galerie Haas AG Zürich
Ben Nicholson, Prato

 

Ben Nicholson
Prato
1958

Osborne Samuel
Ben Nicholson, Painting

 

Ben Nicholson
Painting
1935

Annely Juda Fine Art
Ben Nicholson, White III

 

Ben Nicholson
White III
1980

Crane Kalman Gallery
Ben Nicholson, Flowing forms

 

Ben Nicholson
Flowing forms
1967

Bernard Jacobson Graphics
Past auction results (1812)  View All
Ben Nicholson, Five Circles

 

Ben Nicholson
Five Circles, 1934
woodcut

 

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Ben Nicholson, Six Etchings (set of 6 works)

 

Ben Nicholson
Six Etchings (set of 6 works), 1969
etchings

 

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Ben Nicholson, Complex of Goblets

 

Ben Nicholson
Complex of Goblets, 1968
etching

 

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1894   Born in Denham, Buckinghamshire (son of artist Sir William Nicholson)
1903 - 1910   Educated at Heddon Court and at Gresham Court
1910 - 1911   Studied at the Slade School of Fine Art
1912 - 1914   Travelled in France, Italy and Spain
1917 - 1918   Lived in Pasadena, California
1933   Co-founded Unit One, with Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Edward Burra, Paul Nash and Edward Wadsworth, among others
1924 - 1935   Member of the 7 & 5 Society
1937   Together with Naum Gabo and Leslie Martin, edited Circle: International Survey of Constructivist Art
1943 - 1949   Joins St Ives Society of Artists and exhibits with them
1949   Founding member of Penwith Society of Arts in Cornwall
1951   Nicholson was commissioned to paint a mural for the Festival of Britain
1952   Commissioned to paint a mural for the Time-Life Building in London
1952   Awarded first prize for painting at the 39th International Exhibition (Carnegie International)
1954   Ulisse Award
1956   Won the first Guggenheim International Painting prize
1957   Won the prize for painting at the Sao Paolo Bienal
1964   Made a concrete wall relief for the Documenta III exhibition in Kassel, Germany
1968   Awarded the Order of Merit by Queen Elizabeth
1958 - 1971   Lived and worked in Switzerland
1971   Returned to England
1974   Rembrandt Prize
1982   Died in London, England
1993   Tate Modern, London (retrospective)
1978   Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo (retrospective)
1969   Tate Modern, London (retrospective)
1964   Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas (retrospective)
1961   Kunsthalle, Berne (retrospective)
1955   Tate Gallery, London (retrospective)
1954   Venice Biennale and Tate Modern, London (retrospective)
1952   Detroit Institute of Arts and the Walker Arts Centre, Minneapolis (retrospective)
1944   Leeds Art Gallery (retrospective)
1936   Cubism and Abstract Art, Museum of Modern Art, New York
1935   ‘Artists against Fascism’, London
1935   ‘Exposition internationale d’art moderne,’ Brussels
1932   Lefevre Gallery, London
1932   Arthur Tooth and Sons, London
1931   Bloomsbury gallery, London
1928   Lefevre Gallery, London
1927   Beaux Arts Gallery, London
1924   Twenty-one Gallery, London (solo)
1923   Joint exhibition with Winifred Nicholson at Patterson’s gallery, London
1922   Adelphi Gallery, London (solo)