Ben Nicholson OM1936 (white relief sculpture - version 1) 1936

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Artwork details

Ben Nicholson OM (1894‑1982)
1936 (white relief sculpture - version 1)
Date 1936
MediumPlaster on wooden base
Dimensionsobject: 230 x 255 x 158 mm
Acquisition Purchased 1997
Not on display


Around 1936, while sharing a studio with Barbara Hepworth, Nicholson produced the only two known sculptures of his career, of which this is one. The main differences between this work and c.1936 (sculpture) (Tate T04119) lie in the materials and composition. While c.1936 (sculpture) was carved from mahogany and painted white, 1936 (white relief sculpture - version 1) was carved from white plaster. The continuation from earlier carved reliefs of the circle and rectangle motif in the plaster sculpture is not evident among the interlocking cubes of c.1936 (sculpture).

The piece consists of two elements: a block of wood painted grey which forms the base and a white block of plaster above. In places the paint on the base has peeled or been rubbed down to reveal the wood's grain. The surface of the carved plaster is slightly pitted and fine filing marks are visible all over. The edges are very faintly rounded and a little jagged. The cream white of the plaster is mottled. Looking at the object face on, the carving suggests several overlapping layers of irregular geometric shapes. The front plane is L shaped, the vertical element of which narrows towards the top and is fractionally oblique to the horizontal element… (read more)

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