Paul Nash and World War One: ‘I am no longer an artist, I am a messenger to those who want the war to go on for ever… and may it burn their lousy souls’

Continuing on from his first post about WW1 artists, Gerry Cordon now writes about Paul Nash.

That's How The Light Gets In

Paul Nash, We Are Making a New World, 1918

Paul Nash, ‘We Are Making a New World’, 1918

Paul Nash was 25 at the outbreak of the First World War.  He had been a member of that remarkable pre-war cohort at the Slade School of Art that included Christopher Nevinson, Stanley Spencer, William Roberts, Ben Nicholson and Edward Wadsworth.  Nash had already gained a reputation as a painter of nocturnes and visionary landscapes when he reluctantly volunteered in September 1914, first joining the London Regiment (Artists’ Rifles) for home service only.  But in February 1917, having completed officer training, he embarked for France, arriving in the Ypres Sector soon after.

Along with Nevinson and Spencer, Paul Nash is the First World War artist whom I most admire, so I was interested to read Paul Gough’s account of his war years in A Terrible Beauty: British Artists in the First World War which I finished reading recently.

Nash arrived at…

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