Stephen Buckley



Not on display

Stephen Buckley born 1944
Acrylic paint and oil enamel paint on canvas and wood
Support: 813 × 914 × 51 mm
Purchased 1972

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A recurrent theme of Buckley's work is his examination of the conventions and materials used in making paintings. Frames, stretchers and the texture of the picture surface are key elements in his work. Nice was one of his first paintings to treat elements of support as part of the image itself. Buckley described his method as making ‘three stretchers (interleaved) hold together as one with the woven canvas acting structurally’. The punning title refers to both the adjective and the city on the French Riviera. ‘It's ...a nice picture of Nice', Buckley explains.

Gallery label, April 2009

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Catalogue entry

Stephen Buckley b.1944

T01684 Nice 1972

Inscribed on reverse (on top bar of second highest stretcher) ‘NICE 1972/ Stephen Buckley’, with arrow indicating top.
Construction of wooden stretchers and acrylic with oil enamel on canvas strips, 31¿x35½ x 2 (81 x 90·2 x 5·1).
Purchased from Kasmin Ltd (Knapping Fund) 1972.
Exh:Kasmin Ltd, October–November 1972; From Henry Moore to Gilbert & George, Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels, September–November 1973 (122,repr.).

Frames, stretchers, and interwoven textures have been used frequently in Buckley’s work for several years.

The artist wrote (March 1974) that the title of T01684 referred both to the adjective and to the place, and that it was painted immediately after a painting called ‘Cannes’ (of which there is also a later version).

‘A friend had been clearing out his attic and found a great many old stretchers which he gave to me as he isn’t a painter.

‘So I worked very quickly for a week to see what I could do without pondering too much and Nice was one of the results. The others were:

After Kandinsky 1972
Crazy Paving 1972 (the stuffed one)
Split face 1972
no title 1972
Hadrian 1972
Mr and Mrs H.H. 1972
Tryptich 1972

‘It was a method to make three stretchers (interleaved) hold together as one with the woven canvas acting structurally. I cheated by putting three nails in the back when the whole thing warped whilst drying. But its still a nice picture of Nice. The paint is acrylic with white oil enamel applied before the water-based acrylic had dried.’ This work was made at the artist’s studio at 8 Fitzroy Road, London N.W.I.

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1972–1974, London 1975.

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