Paul Nash

Voyages of the Moon

1934–7

On display at Tate Britain

Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 711 x 540 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1951
Reference
N06024

Display caption

This painting is based on a drawing Nash made in Toulon of electric globe ceiling lamps repeatedly reflected in the mirrored walls of a restaurant. Such circular motifs are commonly found in the work of many British artists in this period, for example, in Nicholson's abstract paintings and Moore's and Hepworth's sculptures. Nash included rounded shapes in many of his paintings, as a ball, or as a boulder on the ground, or as the moon.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

N06024 VOYAGES OF THE MOON 1934–7

Inscr. ‘Paul Nash 1934’ and ‘PN’ in monogram b.r.
Canvas, 28×21 1/4 (73·5×54).
Purchased from the artist's widow (Knapping Fund) 1951.
Exh: Unit One Exhibition, Hanley, 1934 (40); C.E.M.A. tour, Forty Painters, 1941 (27); Redfern Gallery, January 1944 (22); Artists for Victory, Grand Central Galleries, New York and U.S. tour, 1944; Tate Gallery, March–May 1948 (44); Canada, 1949–50 (14).
Lit: Eric Newton, ‘Paul Nash’ in The 1943 Saturday Book, 1943, p.140, repr. facing p.142; Eates, 1948, p.78, repr. pl.81; Bertram, 1955, p.247; Rothenstein, 1961, at pl.5, repr. (in colour).

Exhibited in 1934 as ‘Formal Dream’, which is the title written in the artist's hand on the back of a photograph showing an earlier stage in the evolution of the painting; the subsequent alterations can now be seen as pentimenti. At that time the composition was slightly more complex, with a band round the largest moon and two branching uprights on the right, and the uppermost moon was lacking; the painting bore the artist's monogram, but not the date and full signature. ‘1934’ may thus have been inscribed retrospectively to mark the year in which the painting was begun and first exhibited; the finished painting, under the title ‘Voyages of the Moon’, has always been dated 1937 with the artist's approval. For another example of a painting worked on over a number of years while it remained in the artist's possession see N05392.

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