A selection of works by gallery artists.
Bernard Jacobson Graphics is pleased to announce an exhibition of limited edition prints by the print-maker and major British artist Ben Nicholson.
Following an acclaimed exhibition of Nicholson’s original works at the gallery last year, Bernard Jacobson Graphics continues with a comprehensive show of Ben Nicholson’s late etchings.
Nicholson’s printmaking career started in the 1920’s with trials on lino- and woodcuts. After moving to St. Ives he began work on a series of seven drypoints. It was only when Nicholson was in his late sixties that he started to work extensively with etchings, which were printed in edition size.
However, the influence of printmaking techniques always played a crucial role in his work. The processes involved in relief printing, as used in woodcuts and linocuts, may have led him to work with relief carving in his original works. Similarly the etchings of the 1960’s may have influenced his later drawings, whereby we see a clarity of line and a reduction of tone. Nicholson stated: “The bite of the steel point into the metal is a terrific experience when all goes right & the necessity I am finding to reduce the idea to a series of lines is interesting.”
Nicholson only started to work with etching at the age of sixty-nine. He moved to a remote lakeside house in Switzerland with his third wife, where he met the young artist Francois Lafranca, who offered to print Nicholson’s etchings. This collaboration proved successful for the next three years. The four portfolios printed by Lafranca in these three years demonstrate some of the most important subject matter of Nicholson’s artistic life. While the first three portfolios show a compendium of architectural forms and Mediterranean places that Nicholson had visited with his wife, whose photographs were certainly a major inspiration, the last portfolio comprises the favourite themes of his graphic work: Crystalline forms, the interplay of line, objects in his studio and memories of Mediterranean architecture. This portfolio is a central focus of the exhibition.
Nicholson kept artist’s proofs from all sets of prints, which he liked to hand-colour; often only small parts of the architectural forms are highlighted with an earthly red. Two of these rare hand-coloured prints feature in the exhibition.
As Nicholson said in 1948, he was seeking “the musical and architectural’. Furthermore, Nicholson stated, ‘whether things are representational or non- representational, slightly more or less abstract, is for me beside the point.”
‘Ben Nicholson: Lyric and Line’ exhibits a comprehensive overview of Nicholson’s etching output.
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