Ben Nicholson: Lyric and Line
5 September - 4 October 2013
Bernard Jacobson Gallery London
Bernard Jacobson Graphics is pleased to announce an exhibition of limited edition prints by the print-maker and major British artist Ben Nicholson.
Following an acclaimed exhbition of Nicholson's original works at the gallery last year, Bernard Jacobson Graphics continues with a comprehensive show of Ben Nicholson's late etchings.
Nicholson's printmaking career started in the 1920s with trials on lino and woodcuts. After moving to St. Ives he began work on a series of seven drypoints. It was only when Nicholson was in his late sixties that he started to work extensively with etchings, which were printed in edition size.
However, the influence of printmaking techniques always played a crucial role in his work. The processes involved in relief printing, as used in woodcuts and linocuts, may have led him to work with relief carving in his original works. Similarly the etchings of the 1960s may have influenced his later drawings, whereby we see a clarity of line and a reduction of tone. Nicholson stated: 'The bite of the steel point into the metal is a terrific experience when all goes right & the necessity I am finding to reduce the idea to a series of lines is interesting.'
Nicholson only started to work with etching at the age of sixty-nine. He moved to a remote lakeside house in Switzerland with his third wife, where he met the young artist Francois Lafranca, who offered to print Nicholson's etchings. This collaboration proved successful for the next three years. The four portfolios printed by Lafranca in these three years demonstrate some of the most important subject matter of Nicholson's artistic life. While the first three portfolios show a compendium of architectural forms and Mediterranean places that Nicholson had visited with his wife, whose photographs were certainly a major inspiration, the last portfolio comprises the favourite themes of his graphic work: Crystalline forms, the interplay of line, objects in his studio and memories of Mediterranean architecture. This portfolio is a central focus of the exhibition.
Nicholson kept artist's proofs from all sets of prints, which he liked to hand-colour; often only small parts of the architectural forms are highlighted with an earthly red. Two of these rare hand-coloured prints feature in the exhibition.
As Nicholson said in 1948, he was seeking 'the musical and architectural'. Furthermore, Nicholson stated, 'whether things are representational or non-representational, slightly more or less abstract, is for me beside the point.'
'Ben Nicholson: Lyric and Line' exhibits a comprehensive overview of Nicholson's etching output.
Notes to Editors
Bernard Jacobson Gallery was founded in 1969, publishing and distributing prints by artists including Robyn Denny, Lucian Freud, David Hockney, Leon Kossoff, Henry Moore, Richard Smith, Ed Ruscha and William Tillyer. By the mid 1970s, having established himself as one of the major dealers in the international print boom, Jacobson began to show paintings and sculpture. The early 1980s saw the gallery open branches in Los Angeles and New York, expanding the range of international artists to include West Coast American artists such as Joe Goode and Larry Bell as well as modern British masters such as David Bomberg, Ivon Hitchens, Peter Lanyon, Ben Nicholson, William Scott, Stanley Spencer and Graham Sutherland. From 1997, the gallery moved more firmly into American and international art, with shows of artists such as Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Larry Poons and Frank Stella. Recently, the gallery has held shows by the American artists Robert Motherwell and Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein and Tom Wesselmann, while European painters include Bram Bogart and Pierre Soulages and British artists William Tillyer, Bruce McLean and Marc Vaux.
In 2011 the gallery opened a new space in New York on East 71st Street with an inaugural exhibition entitled 60 Years of British Art followed by 21 Americans, the latter showing work by major American artists including Robert Motherwell, Helen Frankenthaler, Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg. Bernard Jacobson Gallery also has a strong presence at major inernational art fairs participating at The Armory Show, New York; Expo Chicago; Frieze Masters, London; and the prestigious Art Basel fairs in Hong Kong, Basel and Miami Beach