By the time of his death in the 1980s, Ben Nicholson was Britain’s most influential painter, but his disciplined art masked the complexities of the man and his family relationships.
Ben Nicholson was born into a very creative family and became one of Britain’s leading abstract artists in the years before the Second World War. Best known for his beautiful still life and landscape paintings, which combine representational and abstract elements in a disciplined harmony, he was a great champion of Modernism. His personal life, however, was not always so harmonious. Married first to the painter Winifred Nicholson, and later to the sculptor Barbara Hepworth, his art challenged that of his father, the highly successful Edwardian painter Sir William Nicholson.
What was it about their relationship that drove Ben? And how does Ben’s career reflect the wider conflicts between abstract and traditional art forms in the mid twentieth century? This lecture explores the development of Nicholson’s beautiful images, set against a background of conflict – personal, international and artistic.