Paul Nash is one of the great names to have come out of the First World War, while his brother worked more quietly and almost in obscurity. In spite of this, they came together in exhibitions and occasionally shared a studio. To consider them together is entirely right.
There has been some danger of the celebration (is that the right word or the right ethos?) of the Great War becoming hagiographic and samey. There have, however, been not a few interesting re-appraisals of the period and this is one of them.
Looking at this, it’s hard not to conclude that Paul was generally the better artist, although John has a strong sense of design and colour and his best images can be striking, combining a strong sense of the Twentieth Century English landscape with a Modernist approach that is less defined and maybe even less self-conscious than that of his brother.
The work of Paul Nash has been covered extensively; that of John less so. By bringing the two together, this book places a focus on a corner of English painting during a period of crisis and change in both this country and the world. As well as a good selection of illustrations by both artists, the text provides a thorough account of the lives and work of both men.
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