Coquelicot Art of the First World War
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Paul Nash, Night Bombardment, 1918-1919, oil on canvas, 182.9 x 214.4 cm, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.

© National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Transfer from the Canadian War Memorials, 1921.

The age of artillery

47 - Paul Nash

Produced for the Canadian War Memorial, this painting is reminiscent of the work of Vallotton, in spite of the difference in the two painters' ages, training and experience of the war. In this commemorative picture, Nash combines figurative elements - mainly tree trunks, barbed wire and the dark entrance to a dugout - with geometrical elements - now curved, like craters and smoke etc., now angular, like the explosion, parapets and wooden frames. It reminds one of early Nevinson, which relies on the same pictorial system. However, faced with a monumental format, Nash introduces a further element, with the brutality of his earthy colours, the muddy grey-browns, the red of the barbed wire and the whitish lights, forming sharp contrasts against the backdrop of an opaque sky.