Ben & Winifred Nicholson: Art & Life

Ben Nicholson, c.1925 (Jamaique) (© Angela Verren Taunt, 2013. All rights reserv
Ben Nicholson, c.1925 (Jamaique) (© Angela Verren Taunt, 2013. All rights reserved, DACS)

Eleanor Birne writes about Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Christopher Wood, Alfred Wallis, and William Staite Murray, whose works are featured in the exhibition Art & Life 1920-1931 at Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, on view through

Birne writes that in the show "Winifred and Ben’s paintings from the ten years in which they lived together are hung side by side. Ben’s still lifes are of empty vessels: jugs, bowls and pots standing together, in formal, Morandi-like fashion. By contrast, Winifred’s focus is on the foliage inside the jug, and her pots and vases overflow with buds, petals and leaves... Ben and [Wood] would go out walking together with their easels and equipment, and practise simplifying the landscape they saw until they were drawing just the bare essentials... In Cornwall he came across the work of Alfred Wallis, a local fisherman turned self-taught painter... Ben praised his ‘formidable organisation’ and his ‘rhythm’, and said he was as good as Mondrian or Miró."