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(b Denham, Buckinghamshire, 10 Apr. 1894; d London, 6 Feb. 1982). British painter and maker of reliefs, one of his country's most distinguished pioneers of abstract art. From his father, Sir William Nicholson, he inherited a feeling for simple and fastidious still lifes, which with landscapes made up the bulk of his early work. In 1921, on a visit to Paris, he first saw Cubist paintings and in the following years his still lifes showed a personal response to the standard Cubist repertoire of objects such as jugs and glasses, which he arranged as flat shapes on the picture plane. Nicholson was also influenced by the naive painter Alfred Wallis, whose work he discovered in 1928 and whose roughly textured surfaces he emulated. From the early 1930s he turned to abstraction, partly because of the influence of Barbara Hepworth (they shared a studio from 1932 and married in 1938) and partly because of the impact of several visits he made to Paris at this time.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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