John Cecil Stephenson 1889 - 1965


Private collection, UK


London Gallery, London, Circle: International Survey of Constructive Art, 1937


L Martin, B Nicholson & N Gabo, Circle: International Survey of Constructive Art, Faber and Faber, London, 1937


Stephenson’s work of the 1936-7 period had developed a rigorously constructive element, possibly via the influence of Naum Gabo, a Hampstead neighbour and friend. The abandonment of any kind of formal setting, using neutral coloured backgrounds, allowed the artist to concentrate on creating the spatial elements of the work via the progression and regression of carefully placed areas of flat colour, taking simple geometric forms as the vocabulary. It is also in the works of this time that Stephenson’s work came closest to the strongly European-influenced modernist aesthetic of his Hampstead neighbours such as Ben Nicholson, Arthur Jackson and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy.
That Stephenson’s work of this period was highly rated by his contemporaries is attested to by the inclusion of a full-page illustration of his large painting Dynastic (private collection) in the publication produced to accompany the ground-breaking Circle exhibition.