Ben Nicholson OM
August 1956 (Val d’Orcia) 1956

Artwork details

Ben Nicholson OM 1894–1982
August 1956 (Val d’Orcia)
Date 1956
Medium Oil paint, gesso and graphite on board
Dimensions Support: 1220 x 2135 x 3 mm
Acquisition Purchased 1965
On display at Tate Britain
Room: 1950

Display caption

The Val d’Orcia is a valley not far from Siena (a favourite place for Nicholson) and the Italian subtitle seems to relate to the fresco-like, rubbed-down surface of the painting and the warm landscape colours, although the artist did not intend a direct association. Nicholson often painted table-top still lifes, a legacy of the cubist compositions which had inspired him since the mid-1920s. During this period his compositions frequently spread out laterally across the picture plane, with accents of colour to suggest solid form. This painting won the first Guggenheim International Award in 1956.

September 2016

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