A Continuous Line: Ben Nicholson in England
7 July - 20 September 2008
An exhibition curated by Chris Stephens, Tate Britain.
Abbot Hall is the opening venue of the first major exhibition of Ben Nicholson in the UK for over fourteen years. Curated by Chris Stephens, Head of Displays at Tate Britain and a leading expert on the art of St Ives from the 1940s-60s, the show focuses on the artist’s years in Britain from 1922 to 1958. This new exhibition highlights those periods that earlier exhibitions have marginalised and reveals a view of Ben Nicholson quite different from the established one.
The exhibition looks at the landscapes of the 1920s, including works painted in Cumberland where he lived with his first wife, Winifred. It includes his time in St Ives, Cornwall during World War II, when his abstract and landscape works became central to the establishment of the modernist art community, alongside his second wife, the sculptor Barbara Hepworth. The final section of the show focuses on the Cubist still-lifes made by Nicholson between 1945 and 1958.
This exciting project has evolved through a unique collaboration between Abbot Hall, De La Warr Pavillion and Tate St Ives, and draws on the Tate collection and the Ben Nicholson archive, as well as loans from major public institutions in the UK. Many of Nicholson’s finest works are still in private collections, and a number of these rarely seen pieces are included. Crucially, for such a high profile exhibition, it will not have a London venue, and indeed one of the central ideas behind the project is to link the works to be shown in a different context where each of the venues has a particular relevance.
Supported by - Arts Council England