Paul Nash 1889-1946

Born in 1889 in London, Paul Nash grew up in Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire. He studied at the Slade School of Fine Art from 1910 to 1911 under the renowned Professor of Drawing, Henry Tonks, alongside artists such as Ben Nicholson, Stanley Spencer, Mark Gertler, Dora Carrington and C.R.W. Nevinson.

Nash joined the Artist’s Rifles after the outbreak of the First World War and served at the Western Front in the 15th Hampshire Regiment until he was invalided home following a fall, returning to the front as an Official War Artist. Nash quickly grew disillusioned with the war and made this clear in letters written to his wife. One such written, after a pointless meeting at Brigade HQ, on 16 November 1917 stands out; “I have just returned, last night from a visit to Brigade Headquarters up the line and I shall not forget it as long as I live. I have seen the most frightful nightmere of a country more conceived by Dante or Poe than by nature, unspeakable, utterly indescribable… It is unspeakable, godless, hopeless. I am no longer an artist interested and curious, I am a messenger who will bring back word from the men who are fighting to those who want the war to go on for ever. Feeble, inarticulate, will be my message, but it will have a bitter truth, and may it burn their lousy souls.”

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. He co-founded Unit One with Ben Nicholson in 1933 whose members included Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth and he was represented in the Venice Biennale in 1926, 1932 and 1938. From 1936 he was a leading proponent of British Surrealism and organised the International Surrealist Exhibition in London in 1936. During the Second World War he was again commissioned as an Official War Artist and produced two series of anthropomorphic depictions of aircraft, before producing a number of landscapes rich in symbolism with an intense mystical quality. He died in 1946 in Boscombe, Hampshire.... read more

Paul Nash Recent Exhibition Catalogue Recent Exhibition Catalogue

Paul Nash Prints

German Double Pill-Box

Paul Nash: German Double Pill-Box, 1918

Rain, Lake Zillebeke

Paul Nash: Rain, Lake Zillebeke, 1918

The Wall, Dymchurch

Paul Nash: The Wall, Dymchurch, 1920


Paul Nash: Bouquet, 1927