The best books on Paul Nash and the impact of WW11 on artists who lived through it

The Books I Picked & Why

A Crisis of Brilliance: Five Young British Artists and the Great War

By David Boyd Haycock

A Crisis of Brilliance: Five Young British Artists and the Great War

Why this book?

This book covers the drama and upheaval of the years leading up to the war to end all wars, and how five young British artist’s lives were changed utterly by their experiences, with all the energy of a great historical novel. All artists hope to find a powerful subject to drive their work, but this generation had to somehow express the madness and horror they found in those fields of Europe. A later generation would learn from these expressionists, futurists and vorticists and conjure international careers out of those lessons, but this very English group, during this century defining decade, did the heavy lifting.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Paul Nash in Pictures: Landscape and Dream

By James Russell

Paul Nash in Pictures: Landscape and Dream

Why this book?

Key paintings from Nash’s restless career, each with an accompanying essay offering insight into the real places and events that Nash samples and folds into his psychological landscapes. We are constantly aware of the mind behind the brush, using the places he loves to explore his inner anxieties and his desire for solace.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Poet and Painter

By Anthony Bertram, Claude Colleer

Poet and Painter

Why this book?

More than any other book, this volume of letters between friends, and the unguarded insight they allow, gave me a sense of the man, his rhythms of speech, his manner of expression and his character. Career details and everyday mundanities mix with deeper concerns and the kind of excavation of ideas only really close and respectful friends can express.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Paul Nash: Outline, An Autobiography

By David Boyd Haycock

Paul Nash: Outline, An Autobiography

Why this book?

Nash never managed to finish his autobiography, and it was originally published with notes, letters and fragments edited into the second half to attempt to complete his story. This new edition adds his wife Margaret’s Memoirs of Paul Nash, 1913-1946, from a surviving type manuscript held at the Tate, to add many more colours and details to this fascinating portrait of an artist and his genius loci – sense of place. I’d also recommend James King’s biography Interior Landscapes.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Brothers in Arms: John and Paul Nash and the Aftermath of the Great War

By Paul Gough

Brothers in Arms: John and Paul Nash and the Aftermath of the Great War

Why this book?

A thoroughly researched visual study of two brothers, close and highly imaginative playmates as children, but then gradually divergent adults as they came to terms with their war experiences. John had a tougher war, yet seems to have been able to leave the horror behind as he embarked on a brighter, more decorative illustrative style. Paul would be haunted his entire life by shadows of death and depression, but would become one of this country's most important and powerful artists.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Random Book Lists