Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University

DAC Collection Artist Information

Ben Nicholson

English painter and sculptor

Brief biography, in most instances from the Union List of Artist Names® Online:
A modernist painter and sculptor who adopted the constructivist style in the 1930s, Nicholson is known primarily for his geometric abstract reliefs. He studied at the Slade School of Art 1910-1911, and spent most of the years 1911-1918 abroad. He married the painter Winifred Dacre (née Roberts) in 1920, and began experimenting with abstract painting in 1924. Also in that year he became a member of the Seven and Five Society in 1924 and was elected president in 1926. In 1928, under the influence of Alfred Wallis, he began to paint in a primitive style. He travelled to France in 1932 and 1933 in the company of the sculptor Barbara Hepworth. There he became acquainted with Arp, Miró, Mondrian, and Calder. In 1933 both Nicholson and Hepworth were invited to join the Abstraction-Création Group in Paris. He and Hepworth were married soon after, and during this period Nicholson began to make his signature carved reliefs. In 1937 he co-edited the magazine "Circle" with Naum Gabo. In 1939 he and Hepworth relocated from London to Cornwall. The second world war interrupted their association with the international modernist movement, but Nicholson continued to develop his work, and introduced color to his reliefs and revisted landscape themes. Through the 1950s Nicholson continued to exhibit and garner awards. In 1957 he married Felicitas Vogler. They moved to Ticino in 1958. The Tate Gallery mounted his second retrospective in 1969. He left Vogler and returned to England in 1971, where he continued to work until his death in 1982.

Artist ID number in the Union List of Artist Names®: ULAN 500005137.
The ULAN link above leads to a cataloging authority record at the Getty Research Institute.

Objects related to Ben Nicholson:

http://dac-collection.wesleyan.edu/art37021 is a persistent link to this page with no user-session information.

ULAN biographical content is displayed with permission of the Getty Research Institute. Some ULAN content in some DAC artist records has been lightly edited. Content from the Getty Research Institute is © 2017 The J. Paul Getty Trust. All rights reserved.

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