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Towards the end of his life Nicholson twice went to La Rochelle, on the Atlantic coast of France. He was particularly fond of the town, and these visits were his last abroad. In 1938 he painted at least eight views of La Rochelle, mostly looking down on the harbour from his first-floor room.
The painting is almost entirely grey. Nicholson often limited his colours, and was happy to take advantage of the fall of snow. The paint was spread thickly over the canvas with both brush and knife, like a fine pâté on bread. Some details are shaped in relief, and others scratched through the paint to a layer beneath.

August 2004