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1932–40 (still-life)

© Angela Verren Taunt. All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Photo credit: The Pier Arts Centre

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Nicholson returned to painting Cubist-inspired still lifes in the 1940s. In this work the flattened planar representation of the table-top objects contrasts with the textural ground on which they are depicted. This creates a complex spatial structure within the image. Pared-back underpainting against flat areas of colour became a distinguishing feature of Nicholson's work. This developed out of his practice of reworking earlier paintings. Often the original composition was reduced to a simple textural ground for the later image. The still life paintings of this period resolve the formal considerations of Nicholson's pure abstractions with his interest in Cubism. The composition of this work balances abstraction and representation owing much to Nicholson's awareness of the work of Mondrian and Braque.

The Pier Arts Centre





oil & pencil on canvas


H 56 x W 69 cm

Accession number

PAC 40

Acquisition method

gift from Margaret Gardiner, 1979

Work type


Inscription description

1. 'Ben Nicholson 1932-40'. 2. 'cat no 6'. 3. 'Nicholson / Dunluce / Trelyon / St Ives'. 4. exhibition label for Tate (Pier Gallery Collection 20th Sept-29th Oct 1978). 5. gallery label for The Lefevre Galleries, London. 6. exhibition label (artist name and title). 7. exhibition label for Yamato, Japan. 8. exhibition label for Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums (Pier Gallery Collection 1978).


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The Pier Arts Centre

Victoria Street, Stromness, Orkney Islands KW16 3AA Scotland

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