Artist research: Paul Nash

Updated on 17 March 2017 (Harvard referencing).

17 October 2016. Paul Nash (1889 – 1946) was an accomplished and versatile surrealist painter born and working in the UK and well known for his landscapes. In places his style appears naive with a deliberate distortion of perspective as e.g. in his interpretation-laden view from his studio “Landscape at Iden” (Nash, 1929). A particularly arresting painting for me is “Harbour and Room” (Nash, 1932-1936), which in the most innocent way merges the inside and outside view to result in a hard fact-based dream environment, which I cannot stop exploring in a way similar to graphic artist M.C.Escher’s (1898-1972) illusions, e.g. in the lithograph “Up and Down” (Escher, 1947). Nash sometimes however takes the term “landscape” quite far out of an original context, as in his collage “Landscape at Large” (1936) or in a completely different approach in “Battle of Germany” (1944), described as “an abstract aerial view of a bomb raid on a city”, which appears to radiate innocence as long as its the background is unknown (as in “Harbour and Room” above), but could hardly be more disturbing once familiar with its meaning (Fig. 1):

battle_of_germany_1944
Figure 1. Paul Nash: “Battle of Germany”, 1944, oil on canvas. Source: Paul Nash (1889-1946) [IWM Non-Commercial Licence] via Imperial War Museums
The above painting seems carefully planned regarding its overall layout, but at the same time loose and as if the detail had been developed while painting. Maybe I can learn from this – employ lots of care at the initial stages so as to be able to do the actual painting in sleepwalk mode.

References:

Escher, M.C. (1947) Up and Down [lithograph] [online]. [n.k.]. Available at: http://www.mcescher.com/gallery/impossible-constructions/ [Accessed 17 October 2016]

Nash, P. (1929) Landscape at Iden [oil on canvas] [online]. Tate, London. Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/nash-landscape-at-iden-n05047 [Accessed 17 October 2016]

Nash, P. (1932-1936) Harbour and Room [oil on canvas] [online]. Tate, London. Available at:  http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/nash-harbour-and-room-t03206 [Accessed 17 October 2016]

Nash, P. (1936) Landscape at Large [paper, pine and shale on paper] [online]. Tate, London. Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/nash-landscape-at-large-t04161 [Accessed 17 October 2016]

Nash, P. (1944) Battle of Germany [oil on canvas] [online]. Imperial War Museums, UK. Available at: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/20104 [Accessed 17 October 2016]

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