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Paul Nash, 1889–1946, British
Mineral Objects
Oil on canvas
Support (PTG): 19 3/4 x 23 3/4 inches (50.2 x 60.3 cm)

Signed, center right: "PN [monogram]"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
abstract art | contrast | landscape | shale | still life
Associated Places:
Dorset | England | Kimmeridge | United Kingdom
On view
Curatorial Comment:
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In 1932 Paul Nash wondered “whether it is possible to ‘go modern’ and still ‘be British’”. This, he said, “is a question vexing quite a few people today…the battle lines have been drawn up: internationalism versus an indigenous culture; renovation versus conservatism; the industrial versus the pastoral; the functional versus the futile.” During the 1930s Nash attempted to reconcile the two by developing a distinctively British form of Surrealism where mock monumental objects are set in the landscapes of southern England like as if they were prehistoric megaliths. The objects stand out as gigantic, inexplicable presences and yet are deeply rooted in the landscape. In Mineral Objects they are pieces of bituminous shale called ‘coal money’ from Kimmeridge in Dorset. The shale was easily worked to make simple jewelry and amulets in prehistoric and Roman times and when turned on a lath the discarded pieces were often left with a square hole. These objects, Nash wrote, ‘are dramatic…as symbols of their antiquity, as hallowed remnants of an almost unknown civilization.’
--Matthew Hargraves,2011-03
Exhibition History:
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20th Century Paintings and Sculpture (Yale Center for British Art, 2000-01-27 - 2000-04-30)

Revisiting Traditions [BAC 20th century painting & sculpture] (Yale Center for British Art, 2002-04-30 - 2005-05-18)

Connections (Yale Center for British Art, 2011-05-26 - 2011-09-11)

Paul Nash (Tate Britain, 2016-10-26 - 2017-03-05)

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A. Bowness, Nash Exhibitions at Both the Redfern Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum, Arts Magazine, Vol. 35, May 1961, p. 23, N1 A415 + (A & A)

Andrew Causey, Paul Nash, landscape and the life of objects , Lund Humphries, Farnham ; Burlington, VT, 2013, pp. 108, 109, no. 96, NJ18.N17 C28 2013 (YCBA)

James Johnson, Churchill Painting Up for Sale, Scotsman, March 14, 1997, p. 20, Available on Line in Factiva Data Base

Paul Mellon's Legacy, a passion for British art. [large print labels] , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, v. 1, N5220 M552 +P381 2007, Mellon Shelf (YCBA)

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