Paul Nash (1889–1946) was a key figure in debates about British art’s relationship to international modernism through both his art and his writing. He was involved with some of the most important exhibitions and artistic groupings of the 1930s and was a leading figure in British surrealism. He began his career as an illustrator, influenced by William Blake and the Pre-Raphaelites, and explored symbolist ideas while developing a personal mythology of landscape. In response to the First World War he evolved a powerful symbolic language and his work gained significant public recognition. Much of the 1920s saw Nash processing the memories of war through the landscapes of particular places that had a personal significance for him, while in the 1930s he explored surrealist ideas of the found object and the dream, and expanded the media he worked in to include collage and photography. His final decade was spent pursuing ideas of flight and the mystic significance of the sun and moon through a series of visionary landscapes and aerial flower compositions. Concepts which threaded through his diverse career included themes of flight, ideas of the life force in inanimate objects and a belief in the genius loci or spirit of place.
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