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Ben Nicholson, O.M. (1894-1982)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more Property from the Estate of the late Dr Vera Dalley Lederman
Ben Nicholson, O.M. (1894-1982)

1947, Feb 21

Details
Ben Nicholson, O.M. (1894-1982)
1947, Feb 21
signed and dated 'Ben Nicholson/1947/Feb 21' (on the reverse), signed again and inscribed 'NICHOLSON/CHY AN KERRIS CARBIS BAY CORNWALL' (on the reverse)
oil and pencil on board laid on the artist's prepared panel
11¼ x 12¼ in. (28.6 x 31.1 cm.)
Provenance
with Lefevre Gallery, London.
with Waddington Galleries, London, where purchased by the present owner.
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.

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Lot Essay

After the war had ended the Nicholsons decide to stay on in Cornwall in Carbis Bay where they had fled at its outbreak. Gradually travel around the country became easier and London became accessible to them again. However during this period the lack of any kind of studio was taking its toll on Nicholson, and the scale of his work was necessarily reduced. He had applied to Philip James, director of the Arts Council, for one of the large, purpose-built studios backing onto Porthmeor Beach in St Ives, writing that he was working in a bedroom, which 'imposes a very definite limit on the size of paintings I can make'.

Writing on Nicholson's versatility and use of colour during the late 1940s period, Norbert Lynton (Ben Nicholson, London, 1993, pp. 115-117) remarked, 'the use of interference colours - by which I mean a colour change when one apparently opaque colour overlaps with another - probably came from Moholy-Nagy, who had seen it in Kandisky's work from 1920-1 and made an important feature of it. Moholy, working in London from 1935 to 1937, had an article in Circle on the growing use of light and colour in modern times and the need for an 'Academy of Light' and four black-and-white reproductions of his paintings as well as one photogram. Two of the paintings include the use of interference colour ... BN knew Moholy and thought highly of him, so he is likely to have seen his one-man show at the London Gallery during December 1936 - January 1937. The effect of such colours is to imply that opaque colour too is light rather than matter, a film rather than a slab. In BN's hands this play of light and lightness in a context suggesting the physicality of relief, together with the tilting of most of the lines, this duality of solidity and transparency, gives his image an unusual mobile, harlequin character'.

At the same time, the artist developed the use of drawing within a painting, the pencil line playing a major role within the composition in defining objects, and becoming central to the work of art.

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