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Still Life

© Estate of Ben Nicholson / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London

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Ben Nicholson

British, 1894-1982

Still Life, 1945

oil on canvas

support: 26 7/8 x 26 7/8 inches (68.2625 x 68.2625 cm); framed: 27 3/4 x 27 3/4 x 1 inches (70.48 x 70.48 x 2.54 cm)

Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

Room of Contemporary Art Fund, 1948


More Details


signature / back / Ben Nicholson


Paintings (visual works)

Work Type

Oil painting (visual work)

This information may change due to ongoing research. Glossary of Terms

As early as 1911, Ben Nicholson began depicting jugs, cups, mugs, and bottles in his paintings. These elements became frequent subjects in his later body of work. In 1945, he returned to a favorite motif, the tabletop still life, and produced a series of paintings in which the objects in the foreground and those in the background are compressed. Still Life is a subtle composition of delicately arranged forms that are reminiscent of a particularly abstract form of Cubism. The objects overlap and create linear silhouettes, which are further enlivened by small patches of vivid pigment. Nicholson commented, "A great deal of painting and sculpture today is concerned with the imitation of life, with the imitation of a man, a tree, or a flower instead of using color and form to create its equivalent; no one will ask what a tree is supposed to represent and yet, with the most innocent expression in the world, they will ask what a painting or a sculpture or a construction in space is supposed to represent.”

Label from For the Love of Things: Still Life, February 27–May 29, 2016

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