Studio: international art — 74.1918

Page: 11
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https://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/studio1918b/0017
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Still Life and Mr. William Nicholson

"THE BALLROOM, RAID NIGHT"

behind it—the piece wherein, upon some slab
or table, along with festooned vase, there is a
hat and fan and flowers. Feminine possessions,
grouped so well, and shown so daintily, it is as
Souvenirs de Babette that they intrigue us in
Mr. Nicholson's Exhibition.

But the extreme subtlety, the quick attain-
ment of the precisely right, which are the two
characteristics—or is it not really only one
characteristic ?—is not this extreme subtlety,
this quick and certain attainment, this " hit
or miss " (and it is generally " hit "), is it not
shown, and has it not now for some years been
shown, as equally characteristic of Nicholson's
Landscape ? He paints, in landscape, as else-
where, things that have really impressed him;
and so we have The Hill above Harlech—the
view from behind Harlech Castle, and overlook-
ing the wide sweep of bay-—and those other
and perhaps yet more individual visions, visions
of the Downs, the endless chalk Downs, beloved,
in Mr. Nicholson's case, by no merely fair-

OIL PAINTING BY WILLIAM NICHOLSON

weather friend, but by a familiar, an accustomed
haunter of their great suave spaces, their se-
cluded hollows, their large, low, rounded, grey
or golden hiUs. I know no one since the days
of Hine and Thomas Collier who has loved the
Downs as much, and has seen them so intimately.
White Ways, Evening, is one of the pictures at
Mr. Marchant's that may be named in this con-
nexion ; and there is also a most subtle vision
of sunrise, in the same simple and homely and
■—to the common eye—apparently uniform, yet
ever wide-stretched world.

And the surprise picture—the picture that may
astonish us the most, where there is much that
causes wonder ? It is—if it is anywhere—The
Ballroom, Raid Night. The ballroom as a shelter—
the otherwise neglected ballroom of a great West
End hotel. There, all may meet. It is not melo-
dramatic in the least. It is veracious, not sen-
sational. It is as clever as it is surprising. But
then, for my own part, I had expected fully that
our painter would have something up his sleeve.

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