Paul Nash

Lares

1929–30

On display at Tate Britain

Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 708 x 406 mm
frame: 858 x 634 x 98 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Bequeathed by W.N. Sherratt 1980
Reference
T03098

Display caption

Lares is based on the shape of Nash’s fireplace. To the Romans the ‘Lares’ were protective deities, sometimes worshipped at the crossroads but particularly associated with the home and hearth. Nash brought a further intimacy to this reference by including the tools of his artistic activity (a T-square and a set-square). This mysterious juxtaposition may owe something to his admiration for the work of Giorgio de Chirico, who had his first London exhibition in late 1928. Nash's new work turned towards Surrealism in the following years.

Gallery label, November 2009

Catalogue entry

T03098 LARES 1929–30

Inscribed ‘P N’ (monogram) bottom right
Oil on canvas, 24 7/8 × 16 (63.2 × 40.5)
Bequeathed by W.N. Sherratt 1980
Prov: Miss Colville 1931; Mrs W.N.Sherratt 1948
Exh: [?] Recent Developments in British Painting, Arthur Tooth & Sons, October 1931 (not in catalogue); Contemporary British Painters, Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester, February 1946 (32 as ‘Composition’); Summer Exhibition, Redfern gallery, July–September 1946 (68 as ‘Composition’); Paul Nash: A Memorial Exhibition, Tate Gallery, March–May 1948 (29 as ‘Lares Composition’); Paul Nash: Paintings and Watercolours, Tate Gallery, November–December 1975 and Arts Council tour to City Art Gallery, Plymouth, The Minories, Colchester, Cartwright Memorial Hall, Bradford and City Art Gallery, Manchester, January–May 1976 (117, repr.)
Lit: R. H. Wilenski, ‘Carpaccio and Paul Nash: A Study in Common Denominations’, Studio, C, 1930, pp.432–3, repr.p.433; Anthony Bertram, Paul Nash: The Portrait of an Artist, 1955, p.163; Margot Eates, Paul Nash: The Master of the Image, 1973, p.42; Andrew Causey, Paul Nash, Oxford 1980, no.669, pp.141, 234, 236 and 410, repr.pl.280

This picture ‘Lares’, named after the Roman gods of the hearth, is based on the shape of the fireplace in Nash's flat in Queen Alexandra Mansions, Judd Street, London, and is one of several paintings of 1929–31 on the theme of an opening from one space to another treated in a semi-cubist, semi-abstract way. (The others include ‘Coronilla’ 1929 in which whispy branches of trees or creepers are seen through a doorway, and ‘Opening’ 1931 with a glimpse of the sea viewed through a doorway or window).

'Lares’ is listed in Nash's Notebook I and by Margaret Nash as a work of 1929, but by Paul Nash elsewhere as 1930. Andrew Causey, who points out that the later date is stylistically more likely, considers that it should best be dated 1929–30.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1980-82: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1984