This still life is one of a small group of firework paintings Nicholson painted in November 1929. The five fireworks are rendered using flat areas of unmodulated colour set against the heavily abraded white ground of the wood panel. The composition is spatially ambiguous. Roughly incised lines around two of the fireworks suggest shadows and shallow pictorial space, but this is contradicted by three of the forms, which penetrate the work's painted black border complicating the recessional scheme constructed in the rest of the painting. The treatment of the picture surface indicates Nicholson's awareness of developments in contemporary European painting, particularly that of the Cubists Picasso and Braque. Nicholson had made several visits to Paris during the 1920s with his first wife, the painter Winifred Nicholson.
Where to see this painting?
The Pier Arts Centre
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