Nash, Paul (1889–1946) By Brockington, Grace
Paul Nash was an artist who responded both to a British tradition of landscape painting, specifically to the art of William Blake, Samuel Palmer, and J.M.W. Turner, and to new developments in European modernism. He worked across several media: painting in watercolor and oils, book illustrations, design, and photography. He was inspired by literature, including the poetry of W.B. Yeats, the prose of Sir Thomas Browne and artist-poets like Blake and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. He was himself a writer of essays, and of letters published posthumously. Born in London, he achieved early success in the London art world, contributing to the crisis of brilliance (Henry Tonks) that shaped modern art in Britain before the Great War. He served as an official war artist in both world wars, and painted some of the most famous images of conflict, including Wire (1918), The Menin Road (1919), Battle of Britain (1941) and Totes Meer (1940–1941). Between the wars, he became a leading figure in British modernism, co-founding Unit One in 1933 and exhibiting at the International Surrealist Exhibitions in London in 1936 (which he helped to organize) and in Paris in 1938.