Ben Nicholson was an influential British painter and sculptor. He painted some of the best known abstract paintings in 20th Century British art, and was one of the first painters in the important community of artists known as the St Ives School.
Nicholson did not start out as an abstract painter. His early paintings were still lifes and landscapes, influenced by his artist father, William. But Nicholson soon moved away from traditional paintings. He painted his first abstract work in 1924 after visiting Paris and being inspired by Cubism.
Nicholson was married three times. His second wife was the sculptor Barbara Hepworth. They moved to Cornwall during World War II and helped establish the St Ives School. The area became famous for abstract painting and sculpture and had a major impact on modern art in Britain.
He is best known for works such as White Relief, which contains only right angles and circles, 1943-45 and 1924.