Essex Landscape, c. 1930
oil on canvas
56.4 x 76.7 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John A. MacAulay, Q.C.
Mainly known as the younger brother of Paul Nash, John was an accomplished painter and wood engraver who remained in his brother’s shadow. He had no formal artistic training and developed most of his painting techniques by watching his older brother. Having mastered drawing as a young man, John Nash incorporated a strong sense of the natural or organic landscape design in his paintings. Essex Landscape demonstrates the artist’s intellectual approach to abstraction, and is typical of the work Nash produced after serving as an Official War Artist from 1916–1918. Here Nash has used heavy blocks of colours to create highly stylized shapes and patterns. Rather than trying to duplicate scenes from nature, Nash often used strong applications of colour to create paintings in his studio that best reflected his own introspective analysis of the land.