Oil on canvas
81 3/4 x 66 5/8in (207.6 x 169.2cm)
Gift of the Estate of Tom Slick
Ben Nicholson most likely made this painting during the winter of 1951-52 while living in Cornwall, England. Its size indicates a shift in Nicholson's work that occurred at the end of World War II. As more materials and space were available, he started making larger paintings. The composition combines a still life of abstracted vases and bottles with the suggestion of a landscape. Colors largely evoke the landscape, blue at the top for sky or sea, green lower for grass, and sections of grey and reddish-brown, possibly for the rocks of Cornwall. In contrast to the colors, a rectangular form in the center becomes a light, washed-out grey tabletop, while black outlines define the shapes of bottles and vases. Variations of color suggest depth. Beneath the tabletop is a grey shape similar to that of a cromlech, a prehistoric stone structure believed to mark tombs. Found throughout Cornwall, these structures would have been familiar to Nicholson.
In this and other paintings, Nicholson focused on combining English landscape with abstracted modern form. In Jan 3-52 (Cromlech), the two subjects are literally thrust together, but also given equal treatment through color and form.
© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ DACS, London
The Grand Tour: The Tradition of Patronage in Southern Art Museums; 1988; p. 52-53
Modern Art at the McNay: A Brief History and Pictorial Survey of the Collection; William J. Chiego; 2001; p. 124
Tom Slick: International Art Collector; William J. Chiego; 2009; p. 70-71, detail p.5
Signature & date
Signed verso: Ben Nicholson
Inscribed verso: Jan 3-52 (Cromlech)
Docent information sheet
V:\Object Documentation\Paintings\1973.26 Nicholson\The Grand Tour Montgomery 1988.pdf
Ben Nicholson (British, b.1894, d.1982)