Winifred Nicholson

Window-Sill, Lugano

1923

Medium
Oil paint on board
Dimensions
Support: 286 x 508 mm
frame: 345 x 584 x 55 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1940
Reference
N05126

Display caption

Though the painting of flowers has been stereotyped as the preserve of women artists, Nicholson uses it here not as an expression of femininity, but as a pretext for experiments in technique. Like many progressive artists at this time she adopts a naïve or ‘primitive’ style in an attempt to unlearn traditional picture-making habits and generate a fresh vision of the subject. Nicholson innovatively combines the two genres of still life and landscape, aiming at personal expression through her use of space, shapes and colour

Gallery label, February 2010

Catalogue entry

N05126 WINDOW-SILL, LUGANO 1923

Inscr. ‘Window Sill, Lugano Winifred Nicholson 1923’ on reverse.
Oil on cardboard, 11 1/4×20 (28·5×50·5).
Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1940.
Coll: Purchased by Sir Edward Marsh at the Paterson Gallery 1923 and presented to the C.A.S. 1927.
Exh: Paintings by Benjamin Nicholson, Winifred Nicholson, Paterson Gallery, May–June 1923 (? 31, as ‘Cineraria and Primula’); Venice Biennale, 1928 (British Pavilion, 101).

Painted at the Villa Capriccio, Castagnola, Lugano, ‘with my fingers as the paint brushes were packed. We were moving home back to England’ (letter from the artist, 20 July 1958). Ben and Winifred Nicholson worked at Lugano for several winters in the early 1920s.

According to the artist this work was purchased by Sir Edward Marsh at the 1923 Paterson Gallery exhibition, the catalogue of which includes a number of pictures of flowers, though none of the titles fit exactly.

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

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