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Nicholson: An Overview,
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This review is from: William Nicholson (The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art) (Hardcover)
This book is long overdue as is a reapprasal of Nicholson's work. This book provides the reader with a sense of why Nicholson's work matters, whether it be the delights of the early woodcuts with their essential Britishness, the beauties of the landscapes, and finally the still lifes, with the tendency toward silvery and reflective materials. Did anyone in the 21st century make more of the colors black and brown? Did anyone every paint a silver casket with more panache.
The discussion of Nicholson's art was what made this book memorable for me. The book probably provides the reader with the most complete listing of these works, along with discriptions of how Nicholson came to paint them in the manner in which he did. The author also draws an unexpected link between William Nicholson and his modernist son Ben.
While Nicholson's still life paintings are perfect examples of simplicity and calm, his private life was anything but. Although friendly with many of the leading lights of the day (Nicholson gave Churchill painting advice), Nicholson had a Byronnic streak that lead him to lead an unconventional life. There were three marriages and none of his first set children appear to have forgiven him for his second marriage and numerous affairs. His second marriage broke down and he ended his days with Margarite Steen, who produced Nicholson's first biography in 1944. Nicholson's last years were marked by a complete physical decline.
After his death, his reputation decreased annually. His son Ben's portrayal of his father as a kind of "bloke who painted" has lead in part to many of the most remarkable works to be consigned to museum storage rooms. This work is intended to spark a Nicholson renaissance. Here is wishing the author, Mr. Sanford Schwartz the best of luck, since both this book, along with Nicholson's reputation deserves all the best.