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Paul Nash – One Of The Most Important British Artists Of The Early 20th Century

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Paul Nash was born on May 11, 1889 in Kensington, London, United Kingdom. He first studied at southwestern polytechnic and went Slade School of fine arts. After attending fine arts course he realized that he was bad at figure drawing so, he developed the passion for landscape paintings. He is a British painter, printmaker, illustrator and a photographer. He was the official artist of World War which means he was paid by the government to paint or draw the events that were happening in the war. He is best known for landscape made in World War1 and 2. He worked as an official artist. His landscape paintings were very unique. He was inspired by poetry of William Blake and paintings of Samuel Palmer and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. In 1914 Nash was assigned to do home service in second battalion. After the start of World War 1 he was a guard at the tower of London. Still he managed to draw and paint. In the same year he got married to Margaret Odeh. Nash started his army officer training in 1916. In February 1917 He was sent to western font for military. But in May 1917 he broke his rib so he was again sent back to London. Nash considered himself lucky to be alive because after Nash left that place and came back to London many of his formers were killed. In 1920s Nash became interested in Italian artist Giogio de Chirico’s. He was a mysterious surrealist. After that he started to play with surrealist techniques. The sceneries of ancient history, grassy burral mound, Iron Age hill forts, trees standing stones at Aveburg and Stonehenge attracted him the most.

He is considered as one of the most independent and best-known British artist in his period. He contributed a lot of landscape that were really unique and best known in history of world war. His famous artworks are totes Meer, we are making a new world (1918), wire (1919), landscape from a dream and battle of Germany (1944) He died on 11 July 1946 in Boscombe, Hampshire due to the stress disorder and asthma.

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Richard Seddin, friend of Paul Nash said that “most of the time Nash made his oil paintings in the studio. He worked using pencil or watercolor sketches.”

Normally Paul Nash had a cool tone, not too bright color taste but few years before his death he expanded his color choices. He started to use more of vibrant tone. The shade he mostly for water colors were: lemon yellow, yellow ochre, raw sienna, burnt sienna, brown, crimson, Payne’s grey, ash blue, lamp black and white.

He was one of the initial people of modernism in Britain. He started to promote new ideas in European style of surrealism and abstraction in 1920s and 1930s.

He was also one of the organizers of international surrealist exhibition in London in 1936.

Analyzing some of Paul Nash’s artworks

The title of the artwork is “Sunrise, Inverness Copse”. It is a war art and it was created in 1918 after the World War 1. This is a surrealist as well as modern artwork. This painting was made in inverse copse, Ypres, west Flanders Belgium. This painting has w355 x h254mm and is unframed. It’s a drawing on a paper by using chalk, ink and watercolors. There are limited but darker shades colors are used in this artwork. The colors of the artwork make it looks like a fire occurred and destroyed the forest. This artwork does not look real. The space in this artwork is far and wide but filled with objects. The trees look like they are far away. There are small movements in this painting. The sun looks like it is coming out slowly but the water in the lake behind the trees look still. This artwork showed how the world war affected the natural environment of the world. In the artwork we can see burnt down forest. Everything in this artwork looks destroyed. The sky behind the sun looks unreal because there are no depths and lightening. The lightening on the sunrays looks more focused because it looks bright and real.

I think Nash used chalk to make the sun and sky. There are chalk strokes in the tress and on the ground and on the sunrays. This artwork looks incomplete because most of the trees do not have shadows. The ground of this artwork looks rough. There are a lot of bumps and holes, which have depths. They look like dead people. The sunrays may represent a beginning of the world with destroyed trees and dead people.

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