Paul Nash (British, 1889-1946) A Drawing 55.9 x 38.1 cm. (22 x 15 in.) (Executed in 1913)

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Lot 20AR
Paul Nash
(British, 1889-1946)
A Drawing 55.9 x 38.1 cm. (22 x 15 in.)

Sold for £ 212,500 (US$ 283,349) inc. premium
Paul Nash (British, 1889-1946)
A Drawing
signed 'Nash' and with monogram (lower right); further signed and inscribed 'A Drawing/Paul Nash/Iver Heath/Bucks' (on a label attached to the backboard)
watercolour, pen, ink, pencil, crayon and chalk
55.9 x 38.1 cm. (22 x 15 in.)
Executed in 1913

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Dr. & Mrs R.D. Brinton, 1913
    Thence by descent to W.R Brinton
    Thence by family descent to the present owner
    Private Collection, U.K.

    Exhibited
    London, Dorien Leigh Gallery, Drawings by Paul Nash, November 1913, cat.no.3
    Brighton, Public Art Galleries, The Camden Town Group and Others, 16 December 1913–14 January, cat.no.99
    London, Tate Gallery, Paul Nash, November-December 1975, cat.no.18 (where lent by W.R. Brinton); this exhibition travelled to Plymouth, City Art Gallery, Colchester, The Minories, Bradford, City Art Gallery and Manchester, City Art Gallery

    Literature
    Andrew Causey, Paul Nash, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1980, p.350, cat.no.56

    Paul Nash explained his decision to leave London and 'go in for nature' by returning to his family home at Wood Lane House, Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, in his autobiography Outline in 1911. This individually designed residence had been built in 1901 and came with a plot of about an acre and a half amidst a rural idyll of maturing shrubbery and dramatic great elm trees. Within the house was a morning room, which the artist used as a studio looking over what he described as the 'bird garden'. This room provided a suitable platform for Nash to quietly interpret the rich array of nature at his fingertips in a unique manner.

    Executed in 1913, the humble nature of this period in Nash's development as an artist is reflected in the ultimate simplicity of the title, A Drawing. The bare branches of the tall elm trees that marked the garden's boundary coupled with the light and colour of the composition indicate the end of a cool winter day. Indeed, the present work is remarkable both for its generous size and vivid colours that are rare in a period that was dominated by ink drawing with mild washes of predominantly blue. Trees in particular had always held a spiritual quality for the artist who was drawn to them as a child on visits to Kensington Gardens. Stripped of their leaves and foliage, the structure of the trees in A Drawing are fully exposed for us to appreciate their eccentric growth. The shadows that are cast across the land from the foreground of the composition add an element of mystery to the scene whilst the arrival of a group of birds into the pictorial space from outside celebrates life and freedom. The serenity of the scene and that of the few others from this period is juxtaposed with Nash's imminent enlisting as part of the war effort and subsequent deployment to the front.
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