Friday, September 9, 2011

Benjamin Lauder "Ben" Nicholson

Benjamin Lauder "Ben" Nicholson, OM (1894 – 1982) was an English abstract painter. 
Born in 1894 in Denham, Buckinghamshire, Nicholson was the son of the painters Sir William Nicholson and Mabel Pryde, and the brother of artist Nancy Nicholson, architect Christopher Nicholson and Anthony Nicholson. 
Nicholson was exempted from World War I military service due to asthma. He travelled to New York in 1917 for an operation on his tonsils, then visited other American cities, returning to England in 1918. Before he returns, Nicholson's mother dies in July of influenza and his brother Anthony Nicholson is killed in action.
From 1920 to 1933 he was married to the painter Winifred Nicholson and lived in London. After his first exhibition of figurative works in London in 1922, his work began to be influenced by Synthetic Cubism, and later by the primitive style of Rousseau. In 1926, he became chair of the Seven and Five Society.
In London, Nicholson met the sculptors Barbara Hepworth (to whom he was married from 1938 to 1951) and Henry Moore. On visits to Paris he met Mondrian, whose work in the neoplastic style was to influence him in an abstract direction, and Picasso, whose cubism would also find its way into his work. His gift, however, was the ability to incorporate these European trends into a new style that was recognizably his own.
Foxy and Frankie, 1933
Nicholson married the photographer Felicitas Vogler in 1957 and moved to Castagnola, Switzerland, in 1958. In 1968 he received the British Order of Merit (OM). In 1971 he separated from Vogler and moved to Cambridge.
Nicholson died in London on 6 February 1982.
Ben Nicholson meeting the self-taught Cornish artist Alfred Wallis

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