(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
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.