Biography

Paul Nash (11 May 1889 – 11 July 1946) was a British surrealist painter and war artist, as well as a photographer, writer and designer of applied art. Nash was among the most important landscape artists of the first half of the twentieth century. He played a key role in the development of Modernism in English art.

Born in London, Nash grew up in Buckinghamshire where he developed a love of the landscape. He entered the Slade School of Art but was poor at figure drawing and concentrated on landscape painting. Nash found much inspiration in landscapes with elements of ancient history, such as burial mounds, Iron Age hill forts such as Wittenham Clumps and the standing stones at Avebury in Wiltshire. The artworks he produced during World War I are among the most iconic images of the conflict. After the war Nash continued to focus on landscape painting, originally in a formalized, decorative style but, throughout the 1930s, in an increasingly abstract and surreal manner. In his paintings he often placed everyday objects into a landscape to give them a new identity and symbolism.

During World War II, although sick with the asthmatic condition that would kill him, he produced two series of anthropomorphic depictions of aircraft, before producing a number of landscapes rich in symbolism with an intense mystical quality. These have perhaps become among the best known works from the period. Nash was also a fine book illustrator, and also designed stage scenery, fabrics and posters.

He was the older brother of the artist John Nash.

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Artworks

Artist as subject

Film and audio

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Dave McKean on Paul Nash – 'The trenches completely changed him' | TateShots

Illustrator, filmmaker and comic book artist Dave McKean tells us about the influence of Paul Nash on his own work

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Dr James Fox on Paul Nash

Art historian Dr James Fox talks about the work of Paul Nash

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The Dark Monarch

Welcome to the world of The Dark Monarch, at Tate St Ives until 10 January 2010. Bracewell looks at eerie ...

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Story of a Masterpiece: Paul Nash: Totes Meer

The Hidden Emotion Behind a Masterpiece of War

Features

Sketches, letters, etc.

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