Ben Nicholson OM (1894-1982)
One of the most influential British abstract artists of all time, Nicholson was born in Denham, Buckinghamshire, and studied at the Slade School 1910-11 – but was largely self taught. He travelled extensively, sketching architecture and landscapes and began to paint seriously from 1920 onwards. During a trip to Paris in 1921, Nicholson met Picasso and was very influenced by the Cubist works that he saw, thus began his journey into modernist abstractism. With Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth (who was to become his second wife), he was instrumental in introducing continental modernism into English art. Piet Mondrian was another big influence on Nicholson’s geometrical compositions.
Nicholson and his second wife, Hepworth, moved to St Ives, Cornwall after WW2, where he was to live and work for 19 years in the Porthmeor Studios. The husband and wife team were arguably the most influential artists from the St Ives School.