Paul Nash was a painter and designer who studied at Slade School of Art where he was introduced to Roger Fry and the Omega Workshop for whom he produced some work. During the First World War he produced many paintings and sketches depicting the trenches, battle scenes and aftermath becoming an official war artist from 1917. When he returned from the war he continued to work as an artist but branched out into design including theatre and textile pieces. He produced many moquettes for Frank Pick’s London Underground.

His style began to become more innovative at the end of the 20s, beginning of the 30s to a surrealist style, much of which was on display here. The Tate used coloured walls to contrast with the muted colours and greys that Nash uses. I managed to take a few photos of his paintings of the moon over the downs (again I was having to do it surreptitiously ). The colours in these seem to contain a lot of grey, grey pinks, grey yellows, grey blues, grey greens but smatterings and pops of warm tones, terracotta orange, fuchsia pink.

He loved to paint landscapes, and seems to have painting similar scenes over and over again, trees, beaches covered in timber groynes. Here you can see his surrealist style. There are stronger examples, where he features crows and mirrors and dream sequences, but I felt these had stronger colour qualities.

His war paintings have a similar colour palette, I failed to get many photos but did find this rather lovely postcard in the gift shop. You can sense the smoke and the bombs and the chaos. The dark plumes of smoke in the centre jetted with yellow and blue, and deep reds streaming off in the distance. The colours are very similar to his surrealist work despite the change in content.

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The Tate show featured lots of sketch books, interesting sculptural and painting aids as well as work by contemporaries and friends. But sadly not any of his designs, which I think was a real shame as it would have been an interesting juxtaposition to his paintings.

 

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