BEN NICHOLSON, O.M. (1894-1982)
BEN NICHOLSON, O.M. (1894-1982)
BEN NICHOLSON, O.M. (1894-1982)
BEN NICHOLSON, O.M. (1894-1982)
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BEN NICHOLSON, O.M. (1894-1982)

Feb 13 - 52 (salmon + grey)

Details
BEN NICHOLSON, O.M. (1894-1982)
Feb 13 - 52 (salmon + grey)
signed, inscribed and dated 'Ben Nicholson Feb 13-52/(salmon + grey)' (on the canvas overlap)
oil and pencil on canvas
42 x 26 in. (106.5 x 66 cm.)
Painted in February 1952.
Provenance
with Waddington Galleries, London.
Private collection, Belgium.
Private collection, Belgium.
Literature
Exhibition catalogue, English Contrasts: Peintres et Sculpteurs Anglais 1950-1960, Paris, Centre d'Art Plastique Contemporain, 1984, illustrated on the cover.
Exhibited
London, Lefevre Gallery, Ben Nicholson, May 1952, no. 51.
New York, Durlacher Brothers, Ben Nicholson, November - December 1952, no. 19.
New York, André Emmerich Gallery, Ben Nicholson, April - May 1961, no. 42.
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

Brought to you by

Elizabeth Comba
Elizabeth Comba Specialist

Lot Essay

Feb 13 - 52 (salmon + grey) forms part of a sequence of accomplished table-top still lifes that Nicholson executed during the first half of the 1950s. The major paintings in this group represent the culmination of the artist's work in still-life, a genre that preoccupied him intermittently throughout his career. The 1950s was arguably the most important decade for Nicholson's art and reputation, during which he became recognised as Britain's leading Modernist and abstract painter. Moreover, 1952, the year of the present work, was particularly notable as he won the prestigious Carnegie Prize, an international award to recognise the best painting exhibited at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.

Commenting on Nicholson's still lifes at the beginning of the 1950s, Norbert Lynton has written that 'our attention is sought first by the play of lines that represent the still life, secondly by the supporting planes that were the table, and thirdly by the wider setting and its implications of space and location' (quoted in N. Lynton, Ben Nicholson, London, 1993, p. 252).

A master draughtsman, in Feb 13 - 52 (salmon + grey) the rhythmic quality and precision of Nicholson's pencil line is particularly emphatic and contrasts in a startling manner with the hue of the painted salmon pink background. Slender vertical lines are set on painted grey and precise pencil lines interlock to create a dynamic visual assembly of jugs, bottles, decanters, and goblets, each entwined and posed upon a simple table-top. Like the cubist master, Georges Braque (whom the artist greatly admired), Nicholson navigates a delicate equilibrium between the stillness of the placed vessels and the fleeting nature of the moment captured. In breaking away from the notion of representation, Nicholson had found in abstraction a more effective way of conveying and communicating the visual world to the modern viewer.

We are very grateful to Rachel Smith and Lee Beard for their assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.

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