Ben Nicholson OM 1932 (painting) 1932

Artwork details

Ben Nicholson OM 1894–1982
1932 (painting)
Date 1932
Medium Oil paint, graphite and gesso on hardboard
Dimensions Support: 746 x 1200 mm
frame: 800 x 1255 x 60 mm
Acquisition Presented by Dame Barbara Hepworth 1970
On display at Tate Britain
Room: 1930

Display caption

In 1932 Nicholson visited Paris and saw work by Joan Miró, Alexander Calder and Hans Arp. He described their effect on him as ‘a new freedom ... a kind of liberation’.

Incised lines dance into and along the surface of this painting. The lines are fluid, playful and largely non-descriptive (although outlines of bodies can perhaps be read into this painting). Nicholson is occupied here with conveying the painting’s status as a physical object. In discarding the need for representation, Nicholson’s aim was ‘to animate a thing, to create new life by marrying idea to a physical object’.

February 2010

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