Art and Life

Dulwich Picture Gallery

4 June – 21 September 2014

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Curated by Ben and Winifred Nicholson’s grandson Jovan, a rare chance to see the couple's views of the same landscapes, seascapes, still lifes and portraits, as well as those of their contemporaries.

Ben and Winifred Nicholson were at the forefront of the Modern British Art movement and during their ten year marriage they often painted the same subject; she as a colourist, he more interested in form.

Throughout the 1920s the Nicholsons were influenced by the other artists they encountered. Among them was Christopher Wood, who befriended the couple in London and later stayed with them in Cumberland. The trio would often paint the same landscapes and on display here are depictions of Northrigg Hill by all three artists. 

In 1928 when the couple were living in St Ives, a chance meeting with self-taught marine painter Alfred Wallis changed the way they considered seascapes, movement and proportion. Again the artists painted side by side, with the Nicholsons particularly interested in how Wallis would incorporate pieces of old crates and boat paint into his work.  

William Staite Murray also inspired the couple with his approach to aesthetic pottery. But their relationship was very much reciprocal, and as demonstrated in the exhibition, his works are as much influenced by their art as their paintings are by his pots.

Grouped by location, the show focuses on the Nicholsons time in London, Lugano, Switzerland, Cumberland and Cornwall and the artists they painted alongside in these places. 

Don't miss

Of the 80 works included, 15 are being displayed publicly for the first time. These include Ben’s c. 1926-27 (still life) and Winifred’s Flowers in a Glass Jar. 

Venue information

"Art Fund" is the operating name of the National Art Collections Fund, a charity registered in England and Wales (209174) and Scotland (SC038331)