• 20th Century British & Irish A auction at Christies

    Sale 7879

    20th Century British & Irish Art Including The Selwyn Demmy Collection of Works by L S Lowry

    11 November 2010, London, King Street

  • Lot 118

    Paul Nash (1889-1946)

    Sunflower and Sun

    Price Realised  


    Paul Nash (1889-1946)
    Sunflower and Sun
    oil on canvas
    25 x 20 in. (63.5 x 50.8 cm.)
    Painted circa 1945.

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    Towards the end of his life Paul Nash was preoccupied with the subject of the sunflower and sun, and his last pictures resulted in a series of depictions of the subject. Other works of this subject include Eclipse of the Sunflower, 1945 (British Council) and Solstice of the Sunflower, 1945 (National Gallery of Canada). These demonstrate, as does the present work, the relationship between the two: it is a 'union of life and life-giver, flower and sun' (Causey, op. cit., p. 335).

    Richard Seddon recalls how, towards the end of his life, Nash had referred to a passage from William Blake's poem Ah! Sunflower: 'Ah! Sunflower, weary of time,/Who countest the steps of the sun;/Seeking after that sweet golden clime, Where the traveller's journey is done' ('Paul Nash', Studio, March 1948, vol. 135, no. 600, p. 74). Nash was preoccupied with the subject of the sunflower and sun as a way of coming to terms with his mortality, and as a celebration of his life and work. As this recollection of Blake's poem suggests, Nash felt an affinity with and empathy towards the sunflower, which in Blake's poem also appears to be nearing the end of its life. He uses it as a symbol for himself and through his depiction of nature expresses his own deepest emotions and experiences, as he had always done in his art.


    Margot Eates, and by inheritance, to the present owner's mother, circa 1994.


    M. Eates, Paul Nash 1889-1946, London, 1973, p. 137, pl. 125.
    A. Causey, Paul Nash, Oxford, 1980, p. 470, no. 1228.