William Nicholson

Sanford Schwartz

Publicaton Date
September 2004
Standard Number
Yale University Press
296 pages

William Nicholson (1872–1949) was an English painter of ravishingly beautiful still lifes and landscapes. Yet he holds an uncertain place in British art, largely because he left no statements about his aims and indirectly because his son—the better-known artist Ben Nicholson—subtly downplayed his father’s achievements.

In this lively book, the first full critical biography of William Nicholson, Sanford Schwartz argues that the artist’s output has a coherent philosophical and psychological unity very much in harmony with his times, and he links Nicholson’s work in fascinating ways to that of his fellow artists. Schwartz also portrays Nicholson’s personal life in a more complex light, finding that it was a series of rivalries and collaborations with many individuals and that Nicholson’s uneasy relationship with his son Ben plagued him for years. Generously illustrated with paintings, drawings, and photographs, many of which are reproduced for the first time, this book reassesses Nicholson’s achievement and position within twentieth-century art.