Ben Nicholson O.M. 1894-1982
T03953 smiling nude
Graphite, pencil and oil paint on irregular shape, thick, hot press paper 400 x 500 (15 3/4 x 19 5/8) laid on hardboard painted with oil 557 x 686 (21 3/4 x 27)
Inscribed ‘oil wash | nudepale plue [sic.] Nicholson' on back of paper, ‘Nude' on board behind paper and ‘to photo Nicholson (smiling nude) 68'
Bequeathed by the artist and acquired 1985
According to Dr Felicitas Vogler, whom he married in 1959, Nicholson did very few drawings from life. This work was made during the period in which Nicholson was married to Dr Vogler. She states that the trimming of the paper ‘was done entirely spontaneously, but naturally more often afterwards than before [the image was drawn]' (letter to the compiler dated 31 May 1988).
The paper is attached to hardboard (?masonite) which has been coated with oil paint mostly removed by abrasion. Paint does not cover the area behind the paper. The paper itself is coated with very dry oil paint. The nude was drawn on top of the oil paint, once it was dry, in graphite.
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, 1988, p.223