This exhibition provides an overview of the fascinating work Nicholson produced during his life, showing how he assimilated and combined a variety of elements, including traditional English art, avant-garde movements from continental Europe and English naive art, to create his own original style of painting.
Although Nicholson focused on landscape and still life, his paintings were not intended to reproduce nature literally. He used delicate color and seductive line to create semi-abstract forms or purely geometric forms that express the hidden essence of the landscape or still-life subject. Nicholson went beyond the influence of his father, the well-known painter, William Nicholson, and developed an idiom that was influenced by Picasso and Braque's Cubism, Mondrian's Neo-Plasticism and his discovery of the naive but forceful painting of the fisherman, Alfred Wallis.
With his wife, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, and the others, he jointly formed Unit One to promote abstract art in England, and this association had an important effect on the direction of his painting. The reliefs that he made before and after the Second War were particularly significant in determining the character of his work, and they represent a peak in the development of abstract art, and achievement that must be considered in any discussion of twentieth-century painting. All of Nicholson's works, with their limpid color and captivating line, moving back and forth between semi-representational and abstract art, leave a strong impression on the viewer. This exhibition is a selection of major works from each period of his life, presenting the fluctuations and high points of his career from the beginning to the later years. Including approximately ninety works from collections in the United States, Europe, and Japan as sell as Nicholson's native Britain.
A bi-lingual (English/Japanese) catalogue, with an essay by Jeremy Lewison, was published to accompany the show. No ISBN number.