Towner Eastbourne

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Towner Eastbourne

to present first major exhibition of John Nash works in fifty years

Towner Eastbourne and Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park are pleased to present the most comprehensive major exhibition of work in over 50 years by John Nash, one of the most versatile and prolific artists of the 20th century. The Landscape of Love and Solace opens at Towner on 1st May until 26th September 2021 and travels to Compton Verney from 23rd October 2021 to 2nd January 2022. 

In a career spanning more than seven decades, Nash produced work across a range of mediums, from iconic oil paintings, now housed in some of Britain’s most important collections, to accomplished wood engravings, line-drawings, lithographs and water- colours. Combining acute observation and a strong individual vision his oeuvre includes many of the finest depictions of the British landscape created in the 20th century. Often overshadowed by his brother and fellow artist Paul Nash, John Nash has not been the subject of a major exhibition since the Royal Academy’s retrospective exhibition of his work in 1967, which at that time was also an unprecedented honour for a living Royal Academician. Nash was one of a small number of artists who were Official War Artists in both the First and Second World Wars. An artist who did not have formal art school training, he was greatly respected by his contemporaries, particularly for his production of one of the most highly regarded paintings of the Great War, Over the Top, 1918, now in the Imperial War Museum Collection. He is also now renowned for his ‘thanksgiving to survival’ of the Great War, The Corn Field, 1918, which features in this exhibition along with a range of other first and second world war-era works.

John Nash, Oppy Wood, 1918. Oil on Canvas. © Imperial War Museum

Nash was a comic illustrator of note and was also a keen plantsman, creating gardens from the 1920s onwards, developing into arguably one of the 20th century’s greatest botanical artists. Renowned in the horticultural world as a judge at Chelsea Flower Show, he also passed on these skills through his teaching at the Royal College of Art and Flatford Mill in Suffolk. A wide range of these botanical works will be seen for the first time in this exhibition and is a chance for audiences to see Nash’s oeuvre at its most broadlandscape created in the 20th century.

Trustee of the Garfield Weston Foundation, said: “We are delighted that the Weston Loan Programme has been able to support the display of these important paintings by John Nash in both Eastbourne and Warwickshire – bringing this artist’s work to new audiences and dedicating a major exhibition to him for the first time in over fifty years.” The Landscape of Love and Solace has been co-curated by Andy Friend, independent curator and Sara Cooper, Head of Exhibitions and Collections, Towner Eastbourne and organised for Compton Verney by Penelope Sexton, Senior Curator, Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park.

John Nash, ‘Over the Top’ 1st Artistic Rifles at Marcoing, 30th December 1917,1918  ©Imperial War Museum

Sara Cooper said, “Bringing this exhibition to Towner Eastbourne will be a highlight of our 2021 programme. Drawing on such a vast body of work made over a lifetime of creating, from an artist whose practice captured such a great range of landscapes and drew on such a range of inspirations – from the botanical to the political to the personal – the exhibition allows audiences many entry points to delve into the story of John Nash”.

Thames & Hudson will publish a long overdue biography of John Nash, with the same title as the exhibition, in September 2020. Written by Andy Friend, with a foreword by David Dimbleby, it draws on original research to provide great insight into Nash’s life, work and artistic and personal relationships.

Tickets for the exhibition are on sale now. Visit www.townereastbourne.org.uk for all information.

pictured at top: John Nash, The Cornfield, 1918 (detail)

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