News

Mystery in surrealist paintings by Paul Nash reveals Tate Gallery

Gallery Tate Britain in London organized the first in almost 75 years retrospective of one of the most significant British artists of the first half of the XX century - Paul Nash. The exhibition, which begins with early drawings and ends with iconic paintings from the Second World War, shows the importance of this surrealist for British contemporary art.In addition to the well-known works, the public is presented with a sculpture by Paul Nash, forgotten for more than 70 years in a cardboard box and discovered only recently, as well as a double-sided canvas, one of the images on which the audience has not yet seen.Equivalents for megalithsPol Nash1935, 45.7 × 66 cm

Surrealist Paul Nash (1889 - 1946) played a key role in the development of modernism in English art. He was fond of the distant past of Great Britain and spent some time in the south of England, revealing the surrealistic and mystical aspects of local landscapes.
Inspired by, among other things, the phases of the moon, he interpreted the environment in accordance with his own unique mythology, which he developed throughout his career.
Left: Paul Nash (1936). Photo: Helen Maspratt

The landscape in the last phase of the moonPol Nash1944, 63.5 × 76.2 cm World War I irrevocably changed Paul Nash's work. In 1917, he wrote to his wife from the headquarters of the Allied army, where he served as a military artist: "I saw the worst nightmare ... I am no longer an inquisitive and enthusiastic painter, I am a messenger." His landscapes, formerly made in pale lyrical tones, darkened, the fields were covered with fragments of shells, the trees took on hard shapes and livid black shadows, the moonlight and the sun lost their warmth. convey a certain poetic aspect of these scenes. "Cherry orchardPol Nash1917, 57.5 × 48.2 cm

Nash was worried that in times of peace his days would turn into a “struggle of a martial artist without war”. But, as a retrospective show at Tate, he remained a messenger after demobilization. Now he transferred to England from the continent the avant-garde ideas of abstractionism and surrealism.
Looking at artists such as Picasso and de Chirico, Nash began experimenting with fragmented images and abstract forms. And by the end of the 1920s, inanimate objects and geometric shapes made their surreal debut in his landscapes.
Left: Paul Nash, Kinetic Property (1931)

Landscape in AydenPol Nash1929, 69.8 × 90.8 cm In the summer of 1933 he was interested in standing stones near the village of Avebury in Wiltshire. The artist began to study the prehistoric era, Druid myths and mysticism. This was reflected not only in his paintings, but also in his writings, photographs and collages. One of the most important exhibits at the exhibition was the sculpture of Paul Nash, which was last shown to the public in 1942. After this, the composition of the Lunar Aviary (1937) was forgotten in a cardboard box in the vault and found only this year. The artist often showed it at surrealist exhibitions in the UK in the late 1930s - early 1940s, but since then it has been considered destroyed, like most other Nash designs.
  • "Moon enclosure" (1937)
  • Paul Nash, "The House of the Dead" (1932)
"Moon enclosure" is made of cedar, ivory and stone. The sculpture is associated with an earlier drawing of Nash, "The House of the Dead" (1932), which depicts souls in the form of winged creatures that live in "aerial, heavenly dwellings" - open frames that swing on the clouds. In the installation, the artist recreated this fantasy in three dimensions. The design he formed from wooden boxes for eggs, and sitting birds presented in the form of flat ovals attached to the tops of the pyramids.Dead SeaPol Nash1941, 101.6 × 152.4 cm

Another highlight of the exhibition was one of the bilateral paintings of Paul Nash. One of the sides is called the “Circle of Monoliths” (1936 - 1937), the second is “Two Snakes” (1929).
The first has never been exhibited in public and is an example of one of the most surrealistic landscapes of Nash, in which dream and reality coexist. Exposed along with other, more famous images of ancient monoliths in Avebury, it allows visitors to create new connections in this group of works.
Left: Paul Nash, The Two Snakes (1929)

Paul Nash Battle for Germany (1944) The Paul Nash Retrospective at the Tate Gallery in London will last until March 5, 2017, and then move to the Salisbury and Newcastle museums. According to the official website of the Tate Gallery and artfund.org. Main Illustration: Paul Nash, "Landscape of Sleep," 1938