Paul Nash

Paul Nash was a British artist, book illustrator and theatre designer who trained at the Slade School of Art, London from 1910 to 1911. He served in the army in France in the First World War, before being invalided out in 1917. Using wood-types and collotype illustrations, Nash was appointed as an official war artist in both world wars, although he is particularly known for his work in the First World War, where his ‘powerful paintings and lithographs’ illustrated ‘the desolation caused’. This work was followed by a prolific period as a book illustrator. From 1918 to 1932 ‘Nash’s black-and-white illustrations acknowledged the dynamics of the diagonal and the harsh contrast associated with Vorticism’. During the 1930s Nash achieved great success as an artist: founding Unit One in 1933, composed of a group of progressive British painters, sculptors and architects committed to the ideals of European modernism; compiling the Dorset Shell Guide in 1935; and participated in the International Surrealist Exhibition, London, 1936. Nash’s photographs ‘reveal an eye for the unexpected, notably in haunting images for his essay on two fallen trees, Monster Field’, produced in 1946. During the Second World War Nash produced three lithographic posters for the Ministry of Information in London, including The Battle of Britain in 1941, which attracted widespread acclaim.

Information taken from: Livingston, A., and Livingston, I., The Thames and Hudson Encyclopaedia of Graphic Design and Designers, 1992, p.143.

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