Nicholson was one of the most significant artists of his generation, distinctive and highly original in his visual language and approach to painting and he became a modernist master whilst working with traditional subject matter.
Nicholson’s painting bears greatest stylistic correlation to the artists most diligently studied in England during his training in the 1890s - Whistler, Manet and Corot - yet his modernity and identity is highly personal and distinct, looking forward as well as back. Indeed, the particular timbre of Nicholson’s work was admired by modernist artists and can be clearly traced in the evolution of twentieth-century art, alongside early modernists such as Cézanne, Bonnard and Morandi.
The present work is entirely typical of Nicholson’s majestic landscapes and evokes his very best work. As clouds gently roll into the scene, soon to overcome the sandy windswept vista, small houses ornament the horizon, delicately perched between the two worlds; the fragility of the scene is expressed through beautifully textured, layered brushstrokes. As the scene is fragmented into three compositional bands the broad planes of colour precipitate the fragmentation of tones that were to dominate modernist painting and beyond into the middle of the 20th century.
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