Ben Nicholson

1935 (white relief) (1935)

About this artwork

Nicholson's first relief painting was made on a trip to Paris in 1933. While working on a painting, part of the thick white ground chipped off, leaving two distinct layers. He exploited this accident in a series of white reliefs made in the mid-to-late 1930s, and continued to produce reliefs throughout his career. Nicholson was influenced by the purity of the works of Mondrian, whose studio he had visited in 1933. His friendships with Barbara Hepworth (they were married in 1938) and Henry Moore may also have prompted this move into three-dimensional art.

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  • title: 1935 (white relief)
  • accession number: GMA 2149
  • artist: Ben NicholsonEnglish (1894 - 1982)
  • gallery: Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art One(On Display)
  • object type: Painting
  • date created: 1935
  • measurements: 54.00 x 64.30 cm (interior board 33.30 x 43.80 cm)
  • credit line: Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh. Purchased 1980.
  • copyright: © Angela Verren Taunt 2016. All rights reserved, DACS.
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

Ben Nicholson

Ben Nicholson

Ben Nicholson was the eldest son of the painters William Nicholson and Mabel Pryde. He did not devote himself seriously to art until 1920, the same year he married the artist Winifred Roberts. His early works were simple and traditional still lifes. In 1921 he saw an exhibition of cubist paintings in Paris, which was to influence his style for the rest of the 1920s. Nicholson turned to abstraction in the early 1930s. This was partly due to the influence of Barbara Hepworth, with whom he shared a studio from 1932 and partly due to the impact Piet Mondrian's work made on him in Paris in 1933.