Project, c.1950

Ben Nicholson was one of Britain’s greatest pioneers of modern abstraction. Though he began painting traditional still-lifes and landscapes, a visit to Paris and exposure to Picasso’s work inspired him to incorporate abstract elements into his compositions, and eventually to abandon representational art altogether. His friendships with Georges Braque and Piet Mondrian taught Nicholson to paint with geometric lines. At the start of World War II, Nicholson moved to Cornwall where he established the St. Ives School for the abstract movement. Carpet is one of many textile works that Nicholson produced. Initially they were made for his own use and then later for their saleability, as it helped relieve his poor finances. In the 1930s he created several different designs, sometimes in collaboration with his wife Barbara Hepworth.