Sun Fish

1935

Nicholson, William
A large sunfish on a patterned plate dominates this painting. The shimmer of its scales and the translucency of the surrounding blocks of ice no doubt appealed to William Nicholson, who was fascinated by reflective surfaces. Many of his paintings explore the play of light and shadow across carefully arranged objects. 'Sun Fish' was painted in Apple Tree Yard, a mews off Piccadilly, where Nicholson had a studio from 1917 until 1940, when it suffered bomb damage. The black and white checked floor of the studio also appears in other paintings. For Nicholson, still life painting offered a welcome respite from his commissioned portraits. Smaller and more personal than his portraiture, these paintings often feature objects from his large collection of jugs and associated crockery. The sensitive handling of tone and balance in composition has led a number of writers to compare Nicholson's work with the paintings of Chardin and Whistler. The Contemporary Arts Society gave this work to the Arts Council Collection in 1948. Ann Jones
  • Artwork Details: 50.8 x 63.5cm
  • Edition:
  • Material description: oil on canvas
  • Credit line: Gift of the Contemporary Art Society. © Elizabeth Banks
  • Theme: Still Life
  • Medium: Painting
  • Accession number: AC 29

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The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

With nearly 8,000 works by over 2,000 artists, it can be seen in exhibitions and public displays across the country and beyondThis website offers unprecedented access to the Collection, and information about each work can be found on this site.