The Largest and Most Comprehensive American Retrospective by J. M. W. Turner in Dallas

Source:- Art Daily


Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775 - 1851), Regulus, 1828, reworked 1837, oil on canvas, Tate, London, Bequeathed by the Artist, 1856. © Tate, London.


DALLAS, TX.-The Dallas Museum of Art presents the largest and most comprehensive retrospective ever presented in the United States of the career of J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851), one of the greatest landscape painters in the history of art. The exhibition will open today in the J. E. R. Chilton Galleries, and will be the only U.S. showing south of the Mason-Dixon line.

J. M. W. Turner will consist of approximately 140 works, divided almost evenly between oils and works on paper, and will include masterworks representing his extensive range of subjects—seascapes, topographical views, historical events, mythology, modern life, and scenes from his own fertile imagination. Many of these works have never been shown in the United States.

“Turner will survey the artist’s truly fantastic mastery of the landscape,” said Dorothy Kosinski, Senior Curator of Painting and Sculpture and The Barbara Thomas Lemmon Curator of European Art at the DMA. “Our visitors will have the opportunity to see some highly innovative and experimental sketches and studies and many watercolors, in addition to the impressive large-scale finished works.”

Among these pieces are Tintern Abbey (1794), The Battle of Fort Rock, Val d’Aoste, Piedmont 1796 (1815), Sunset (c. 1820–1830), and Norham Castle, on the River Tweed (c. 1822–1823), all from Tate Britain.

“The excellence of our artistic program is reflected in an ongoing series of major projects,” said John R. Lane, The Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art. “And with this exhibition, the international prominence of the DMA as a presenter of exceptional exhibitions continues to grow as well.”

The exhibition has been selected by a team of American curators: Franklin Kelly, Senior Curator of American and British Painting, National Gallery of Art; Dorothy Kosinski of the Dallas Museum of Art; and Gary Tinterow, Engelhard Curator in Charge of the Department of Nineteenth-Century, Modern, and Contemporary Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; in collaboration with Ian Warrell, Curator of 18th- and 19th-Century Art, Tate Britain.

J. M. W. Turner is organized by the Dallas Museum of Art (February 10–May 18, 2008), the National Gallery of Art, Washington (October 1, 2007–January 6, 2008), and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (June 24–September 21, 2008), in association with Tate Britain, London, which is lending 86 works from its vast and impressive Turner bequest. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. Bank of America is the proud to be the national sponsor. The Dallas presentation is made possible by The Eugene McDermott Foundation. Generous support is provided by McKool Smith P.C., Texas Instruments, and by an anonymous donor.

The exhibition will be arranged chronologically. Among the paintings in the show will be Snow Storm: Hannibal and His Army Crossing the Alps (1812), one of Turner’s greatest achievements, which is coming to the United States from Tate Britain for the first time; The Battle of Trafalgar, 21 October 1805 (1822–1824), the largest painting by Turner and his only royal commission, from the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England; and Ulysses Deriding Polyphemus–Homer’s Odyssey (exh. 1829), a major mythological painting from the National Gallery, London; as well as the masterpieces Keelmen Heaving in Coals by Moonlight (1835) and Mortlake Terrace (1827) from the National Gallery of Art’s own collection of 114 works by Turner.

The 320-page exhibition catalogue, which will be fully illustrated with 210 color and 50 black and white images, will include an overview of the artist’s life and career by Warrell and an essay by Kelly entitled “Turner and American Art.” It will be published by Tate Enterprises, Ltd and Harry N. Abrams, Inc. More details about the catalogue will be announced at a later date.

Joseph Mallord William Turner was born the son of a barber in Covent Garden, London. He worked as an assistant to an architect and studied at the Royal Academy Schools. His early work consisted of drawings and watercolors; he exhibited his first oil painting, Fishermen at Sea, in 1796 at the Royal Academy. Success came at the age of 27 and Turner eventually came to see his works as rivaling those of the old masters of European art.

During his career he prolifically documented his travels throughout England, Scotland, Wales, France, Switzerland, and Italy. In his late period, when Turner was concerned with the painting of light, subject matter became almost secondary. He sent paintings to the Royal Academy and described them as being “without form and void, like chaos before the creation.” Renowned British art historian and critic John Ruskin (1819–1900) perceived Turner’s paintings to be unique in the degree to which they wedded detailed observations of nature to grand general effects.
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