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Black Ground (Screen for the Sea)
© The Piper Estate / DACS 2015

Reference URL

Black Ground (Screen for the Sea) 1938

Not on display

This one of the last paintings Piper made in an abstract style, and is also one of his largest works. The painting clearly refers to the cubist compositions of Braque and Picasso, and is closely related to a mural Piper did for a friend's flat in Highgate, London, in 1938. The abstracted motifs represented in this picture are a bottle and a stringed instrument. The reference to the sea in the painting's title suggests that it may have originated as a seascape.

Glossary Open

Abstract art

Art in which there is no attempt to represent anything existing in the world, particularly used of the 20th century onwards. ‘Abstraction’ refers to the process of making images that may in part derive from the visible world but which are reduced to basic formal elements.


A style of painting originated by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso in the first two decades of the 20th century. Instead of painting a figure or object from a fixed position they represented it from multiple viewpoints.


A distinctive element in a work of art or design.

Abstract art, Cubism , Motif


  • Acc. No. GMA 1998
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 121.60 x 182.80 cm (framed: 127.00 x 188.40 x 11.50 cm)
  • Credit Purchased 1978