Coquelicot La couleur des larmes
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  52-Nash

Paul Nash, The Ypres Salient at Night, 1917-18, oil on canvas, 71.1 x 91.4 cm, Imperial War Museum, London.

© Imperial War Museum.
 

52-Nash

Paul Nash, Void (Néant), 1918, oil on canvas, 71.4 x 91.7 cm, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.

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

52-Nash

Paul Nash, The Menin Road, 1919, oil on canvas, 182.9 x 317 cm, Imperial War Museum, London.

© Imperial War Museum.

 
The age of artillery
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52 - Paul Nash

The battle around Ypres lasted as long as the war itself. This appalling blood-bath was for the Commonwealth troops like Verdun for the French: an endless carnage in a marshy landscape where the wounded were swallowed up in the mud.
These three paintings by Paul Nash, while showing how he moved from Cubo-Futurism towards descriptive naturalism, bear witness to the extreme violence of the destruction, in the wetlands, in the mutilated woodlands and around the town, itself destroyed. Void can be seen as the archetype of the Great War landscapes: not a soldier to be seen, abandoned lorries and guns, flooded trenches, a limp corpse among the shells and rifles, smoke and, in the distance a plane, either dropping bombs or falling to the ground, we cannot tell. On top of everything, it rains continually. There can be no more hope of coming back alive from such a place which no longer has a name, which has become a field of death.
 

 
52-Nash" We gingerly crossed the valley of Paddebeek through a hail of bullets, hiding behind the foliage of black poplar trees felled in the bombardment, and using their trunks as bridges. From time to time one of us disappeared up to their waist in the mud, and if our comrades had not come to their rescue, holding out their rifle butt, they would certainly have gone under. We ran along the rims of the shell-holes as if we were on the thin edge of a honeycomb. Traces of blood on the surface of some heavy shell-holes told us that several men had already been swallowed up. "

Ernst Jünger, Storms of Steel.