Born: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1898
Died: Los Angeles, California 1943
A “Santa Fe Modernist” painter, etcher, teacher.
Willard Nash was the pupil of John P. Wicker at the Detroit Art School. He had been the highest paid boy soprano in the United States, acted on the Detroit stage, boxed as an amateur, and earned more as a commercial artist at 16 than he did as a fine artist at 39. Nash came to Santa Fe in 1920, joining Los Cinco Pintores under the leadership of Bakos as a modernist exhibition group. Cezanne appealed to Nash as an influence, as did the Fauve colors and Marin’s simplifications. In the late 1920s Nash’s abstract work was shown in “The Modernists” alcove at the Museum of New Mexico. The same group was shwn at the Whtney in New York City in 1932 and 1935. In 1936, Nash moved to California. He taught at Broadmoor Art Academy in Colorado Springs, at San Francisco Art School, and at the Art Center School in Los Angeles.
Nash’s periods are classified as early Whistlereque impressionism, vivid New Mexico decorations, cubism, and simplified nudes. His February 1937 exhibition in Hollywood combined New Mexico landscapes and movie star portraits. It was attended by the celebrities and reviewed favorable in both the art and gossip columns.
Resource: SAMUELS’ Encyclopedia of ARTISTS of THE AMERICAN WEST,
Peggy and Harold Samuels, 1985, Castle Publishing