Ben Nicholson
Year, Birthplace 1894,
Year, Place of death 1982, United States
Despite having embarked on an early abstract phase in 1924, in the years that followed Ben Nicholson largely painted landscapes and still lifes which bear the influence of Braque’s cubism while tending subtly towards abstraction. His first reliefs, dating from late 1933, and the sculptures that he created in 1936, would become completely abstract and purely geometric. Nicholson then returned to large-scale paintings for a few years, variations on squares and rectangles with bright colours applied to flat surfaces. These shapes correspond to the arrangement of objects in a still life: in this case, this painting could represent a table viewed from above. To ensure the transition between this play of shapes and the exterior, the painter reserved a band of neutral and irregular colour that is broader at the bottom. The frame is the original and might have belonged to Nicholson himself (it matches one seen in a photograph of the exhibition at the Galerie Lefevre in March 1939). AC