Artist biography

Paul NASH 1889–1946

Landscape painter in oils and watercolour, book illustrator, writer and designer for applied art. Born 11 May 1889 at Kensington, elder brother of John Nash. Lived at Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, from 1901. Studied at the Chelsea Polytechnic 1906–7, at L.C.C. evening classes at Bolt Court, Fleet Street, 1908–10, and at the Slade School 1910–11. First one-man exhibition of drawings and watercolours at the Carfax Gallery 1912. Worked under Roger Fry at the Omega Workshops and on restoring the Mantegna Cartoons at Hampton Court 1914. Member of the Friday Club 1913, the London Group 1914, the N.E.A.C. 1919 and the Society of Wood Engravers 1922. Served with the Artists' Rifles 1914–17; appointed Official War Artist as a result of his exhibition Ypres Salient at the Goupil Gallery 1917. Lived at Dymchurch, Kent, 1921–5. First visit to Paris 1922. Taught at Oxford 1920–3 and the R.C.A. 1924–5 and 1938–40. Illustrated several books 1918–32, including Genesis 1924 and Urne Buriall 1932. Lived in or near Rye 1925–33. Represented at the Venice Biennale 1926, 1932 and 1938. Founded Unit One 1933. In Dorset 1934–5; returned to London 1936. Exhibited at the International Surrealist Exhibitions in London 1936 and Paris 1938. Settled in Oxford 1939. Official War Artist to the Air Ministry 1940 and to the Ministry of Information 1941–5. Retrospective exhibitions at Temple Newsam, Leeds, 1943, and Cheltenham 1945. Died 11 July 1946 at Boscombe, Hampshire. Memorial exhibitions at the Tate Gallery 1948 and in Canada 1949–50; an exhibition of his photographs was held by the Arts Council 1951 and a book of his photographs, Fertile Image, was published the same year. A fragment of autobiography together with some letters and essays was published posthumously as Outline in 1949, his correspondence with Gordon Bottomley as Poet and Painter in 1955. A further exhibition was held at the Redfern Gallery 1961.

Lit: Anthony Bertram, Paul Nash, 1923; Herbert Read, Paul Nash, 1944; Margot Eates, Paul Nash, Paintings, Drawings and Illustrations, 1948; Anthony Bertram, Paul Nash, the Portrait of an Artist, 1955; George Wingfield Digby, Meaning and Symbol in Three Modern Artists, 1955; Sir John Rothenstein, Paul Nash, 1961.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II