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Event Item: 00146
A Continuous Line: Ben Nicholson in England
Exhibition: 11th Oct 2008 to 4th Jan 2009
Ben Nicholson (1894-1982) was one of the most radical British artists of the twentieth century and the leader of the modern movement in Britain between the wars. Most famous for his abstract paintings and reliefs of the 1930s, Nicholson began as a figurative painter and had a deep and enduring relationship with the English landscape.
This is the first major tour of the work of Nicholson in the UK for over fourteen years, focusing on his career from the 1920 to when he left Britain to live in Switzerland in 1958. The exhibition reconsiders his position in British art history offering a new understanding of the modern in art, particularly in relation to national and local identities. It concentrates on three periods and groups of work that have been neglected for many years: landscapes made in Cumberland and Cornwall in the late 1920s; landscapes, abstract paintings and reliefs made alongside each other in St. Ives during the World War II; and the Cubist still-lifes made between 1945 - 58 that secured Nicholson's international reputation. The selection of key works included in the exhibition demonstrate his continuity of vision and approach and highlights those periods that earlier exhibitions have marginalised and reveals a view of Ben Nicholson quite different from the established one.
This major touring exhibition has been organized by Abbot Hall, Kendal; De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill; and Tate St Ives. Each of the three venues has a particular relevance to Ben Nicholson: Kendal is close to the home he shared with his first wife; the De La Warr Pavilion was the product of the international modern movement to which he was central; St Ives was seminal to Nicholson's art and his home for nineteen years.
It is curated by Chris Stephens, Head of Displays at Tate Britain and a leading expert on the art of St Ives from the 1940s-60s.
De La Warr Pavilion, Marina, Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex, TN40 1DP