Wednesday, January 5, 2011

More Still Lifes From William Nicholson

Here are some more still lifes from the book  The Art of William Nicholson, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2004IMG_0911 IMG_0912
I’ll quote from the book about his still life work:
“Nicholson’s still-lifes are generally considered his finest work, and there is no question that they show a greater range of feeling and development than any other type of picture he made. If in his early examples he might make traditional views of, say, elegant vases or glamorous arrays of flowers, he kept testing the theme, moving from large-size, vaguely allegorical and somewhat bizarre examples, such as The Hundred Jugs , an image of a kind of jug warehouse, to increasingly informal views of seemingly random objects. It is in his still-lifes that [his] colour is most daring and sumptuous, and he is most experimental in in his feeling for illumination, exploring the brightest, most silvery and golden tonalities, and also sheer darkness, from which reflective objects send forth glimmers of light.” p. 16
The Hundred Jugs

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Art Books: William Nicholson

First of all, before I forget – hope your New Year will be happy and prosperous!


I’ve been meaning to write about the books in my art book collection for quite a while and while I've posted a couple of entries on some of my books on this blog, I haven't been terribly disciplined about this . At first I thought I’d move sequentially through the stacks (for example, you’d get a long series of posts about all my books about drawing, since that is what’s on the top of the shelf) – but on second thought, I think that random selection might be best. I’ll start the new year with the book that’s been on my desk for several weeks now, The Art of William Nicholson (Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2004). [I just checked the price on Amazon – you really need to buy an art book when it’s first released, particularly an exhibition book. They get very expensive very quickly!]

Nicholson was born in 1872 in Nottinghamshire, England and died in 1949. Although he painted many portraits (and portraiture accounted for the main source of his income), today he is primarily remembered as a still life and landscape painter. He began his artistic life as a graphic artist which undoubtedly influenced his strong sense of drama and design in his later work.


His still lifes are sensually painted and are often painted from interesting vantage points. He also plays with light conditions, such as dramatically footlighting objects or having objects lit from behind. Shadows often play an integral part of the composition. I love looking at his still lifes.