Willard Nash Biography

Willard Nash

1898-1943

Biography

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 was a successful commercial artist at 16 ironically, earning more money than he did as a fine artist at age 39.

Nash came to Santa Fe in 1920, joining Los Cinco Pintores under the leadership of Bakos as a modernist exhibition group. Cézanne 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 shown at the Whitney 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 Whistleresque 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 celebrities and reviewed favorably in both the art and gossip columns.