Catalogue entry

T00051 FEB 28–53 (VERTICAL SECONDS) 1953

Inscr. ‘Ben Nicholson Feb 28–53 (vertical seconds)’ on turnover of canvas.
Canvas, 29 3/4×16 1/2 (75·5×42).
Purchased from the artist (Grant-in-Aid) 1955.
Exh: Lefevre Gallery, September–October 1954 (24, repr.); Tate Gallery, 1955 (63, repr. in colour pl.8); Berne, May–July 1961 (58).
Repr: Read, II, 1956, pl.98 (in colour); Tate Gallery Report 1955–56, 1956, between pp.22 and 23; John Rothenstein, The Tate Gallery, 1962, p.259.

Exhibited in 1954 and 1955 as ‘Feb 28–54’. The holes along the top and right-hand edges, caused by the canvas having been re-stretched before being painted on, are part of the design (letter from the artist, 26 January 1957). Other paintings in which ‘accidental’ surface blemishes are used are ‘Aug. 1952 (palimpsest)’ in the collection of M. Nagata, Tokyo (repr. Read, II, 1956, pl.56) and ‘still-life (spotted curtain) March 14–47’ at Aberdeen (repr. Read, I, 1948, pl.179); cf. also the panel used for N05125 above. Such so-called blemishes are frequently the starting-point of a painting, relief, or drawing and in some cases become a key point, e.g. ‘Oct. 1951 (six eyes)’ (repr. Hodin, 1957, pl.27) which was based on six holes already bored in the wood before the painting was begun (letter from the artist, 13 September 1958).

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II