More than 100 masterpieces by artist JMW Turner will be exhibited in Margate

Turner Contemporary.

More than 100 works by celebrated landscape artist JMW Turner will be exhibited at Turner Contemporary in Margate from next month.

The display will be the fullest survey of the artist’s watercolours of Margate to ever be shown at the gallery, which sits on Margate seafront on the same site where Turner stayed when visiting the town in the 19th Century,

JMW Turner: Adventures in Colour launches on 8 October 2016 and runs until 8 January 2017.


by Kathy Bailes

Source: Kent Live



Mystery oil painting left in storage at art gallery for years IS by British master Turner and is worth millions

The painting of a ship off Margate beach had been kept in storage at Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery amid doubts of its authenticity.

View of The Beach of Margate by Turner

The painting of a ship off Margate beach had been in storage as previous Turner experts had shed serious doubt over its authenticity.

But now art historian, Ian Warrell, who used to look after the huge Turner collection at Tate Britain in London, is convinced it is by the great man.

Mr Warrell said: “It had been hidden away at the Whitworth really because they were led to believe that it was not a Turner. But I’m convinced that it is.”

Called View of The Beach of Margate, it will be one of more than 100 works by the artist to be displayed at the JMW Turner Adventures in Colour at the Turner Contemporary galley in the resort nest weekend.

Mr Warrell says the painting dates from 1840 when Turner was in Margate lodging with a Mrs Booth.

The Whitworth gallery in Manchester
The Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester

First called The Phantom Ship, was a part of collection sold by Mrs Booth, – his landladly and mistress – and her son Daniel John, at Christie’s in 1865.

It was bought by the Manchester cotton manufacturer, Henry Tootal Broadhurst.

It was inherited by his son, Sir Edward Tootal Broadhurst, who became chairman of Tootal Broadhurst Lee, one of the largest cotton manufacturers in Manchester.

He was also the chairman of the Manchester and Liverpool District Bank and High Sheriff of Lancashire in 1906–7.

After his death it was bequeathed to the Whitworth, which has 18 Turner paintings.

But due to concerns about its authenticity the painting was put in storage after being on display for about a year.

'The Burning Of the House Of Lords' by Turner
‘The Burning Of the House Of Lords’ by Turner

However it has now been relabelled as a Turner by the Whitworth.

David Morris, head of collections at The Whitworth, said: “The painting was assessed by a Turner expert, Mr G Agnew, in 1924, and a note by him says he does not consider it to be a Turner.”

Agnew valued the painting at at £200 and said it was ‘doubtful whether it was genuine”.

Mr Morris added:“Then in the 1980s it was looked at by another Turner expert, Evelyn Joll, who was responsible for a catalogue raisonnee of all Turner’s works. He said it was not a Turner.

“So when you have that kind of opinion as a public gallery, you have to take it off show, you don’t want to be embarrassed.

Turner painting Fishing Boats in a Stiff Breeze
Turner painting Fishing Boats in a Stiff Breeze

“Ian Warrell was intrigued by it however. He is the current best expert on Turner in ther UK. I am opened minded about it. He considers it to be part of a group of paintings of Margate, three of which are held by the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff.

“It would be fascinating to bring them all together and to carry out a scientific examination, looking at things like the pigment of the paint, to establish definitively that it is a Turner.

“We did exhibit the painting again last year at our re-opening, and it is now labelled as a Turner.”

After the Margate show the work will return to storage at Whitworth as the gallery’s exhibits are planned years in advance.

by Neal Keeling

Source: Mirror

Punk with a paintbrush: how Turner sunk the Empire

Battle of Trafalgar by JMW Turner. Photograph: National Maritime Museum
Battle of Trafalgar by JMW Turner. Photograph: National Maritime Museum

The sea broils with war. Sails hover like veils above the dead and dying. Is this the Victory or defeat?

JMW Turner’s painting The Battle of Trafalgar 21 October 1805 is well worth looking at on Trafalgar Day, 210 years after Nelson’s stunning defeat of the French and Spanish fleets that changed the course of the Napoleonic wars and established a British naval supremacy that lasted into modern times.

This great battle painting, which rightly has a room to itself in the National Maritime Museum, has some strange things about it. The survivors of Trafalgar who saw it when it was completed in 1824 were not happy at all. Turner’s sublime array of interwoven French and British ships gathered round the shining wooden wall of HMS Victory did not look like their memories. But most troubling of all – and most striking today – is Turner’s portrayal of human suffering at the centre of his painting.

Men whose ships have sunk or who have been thrown overboard by cannon blasts (men on both sides) are clinging to boats and wreckage in the wild sea, with a huge union jack floating, like a shroud, over the grisly waters.

The human suffering at the centre of Battle of Trafalgar by JMW Turner. Photograph: National Maritime Museum
The human suffering at the centre of Battle of Trafalgar by JMW Turner. Photograph: National Maritime Museum

Turner is doing something even more daring here than first meets the eye. This focus on the dead, the dying and the wounded seems subversive in a picture of a great British victory. But it is all the darker when you recognise his pictorial source. In 1820, two years before Turner got commissioned by George IV to paint his Trafalgar epic, a shocking work of art was shown at the Egyptian Hall in London. It was The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault – a terrifying scene of starving, perhaps cannibal, victims of an ocean disaster struggling to survive on a raft on the open sea.

When you realise Turner must have seen The Raft of the Medusa in 1820 it is easy to see how he quotes it visually in his painting of Trafalgar. The swarm of men in the water resemble the poor people on Géricault’s bereft raft. A near-naked body slung over the side of a boat in the foreground of Turner’s picture, trailing in the water, closely replicates a very similar figure that is one of the most harrowing details in The Raft of the Medusa.

The Raft of the Medusa is a vision of utter despair. To quote it in a painting of a famous victory is spectacularly subversive. But Turner had unpatriotic form.

 The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault. Photograph: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images
The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault. Photograph: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images

In a previous painting of Trafalgar, done just after the battle itself and today in Tate Britain, Turner imagines how the battle looked from the Mizen Starboard shrouds of the Victory. It looks like hell. A terrible smoky entanglement of masts and rigging looms over ships fighting at close quarters. Men lie dead and dying everywhere, hit by bullets as cannon blast into the invisible lower decks. Among the fallen is Nelson – but the heroic admiral who died at the moment of his greatest triumph is just one of the victims of a battle both fair and foul.

War is chaos, it is a nightmare. That is Turner’s take on military heroism. He shows another scene of devastation, where friend and enemy are equal in death, in his painting The Field of Waterloo.

We must remember battles. We must remember what they are really like. Great art helps us to see that, on Trafalgar Day and every day.

by Jonathan Jones

Source: The Guardian


JMW Turner’s Thames boat journey to be recreated to mark new exhibition

A boat journey taken by renowned romantic artist JMW Turner along the River Thames is to be recreated to launch a new exhibition of his work.

The Thames boat journey will be recreated to mark the launch of a new exhibition at the Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate, Kent
The Thames boat journey will be recreated to mark the launch of a new exhibition at the Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate, Kent

The Waverley will voyage from London along the coast of Kent to Margate, home of the Turner Contemporary, next year to celebrate the gallery’s fifth anniversary.

The boat, with up to 90 people on board, will follow the route first taken by the artist as a boy, at the start of the Turner and Colour exhibition in October.

A gallery spokeswoman said: “Turner first came to Margate aged 11, having been sent by his parents to school in Love Lane in Margate Old Town. He returned to sketch there aged 21 and from the 1820s onwards became a regular visitor.

“His connection with the seaside town was the founding inspiration for Turner Contemporary. The artist loved Margate for the sea, the skies, and his landlady Mrs Booth.”

Turner and the widowed Mrs Booth began a love affair in Margate where she is now immortalised in his bronze shell lady sculpture, which resides at the end of the Harbour Arm.

The gallery said Turner and Colour will be the largest exhibition of the artist’s work in the UK, featuring more than 70 paintings, including the fullest collection of the artist’s watercolours of Margate.

The 2016 programme will also include works by Barbara Hepworth, Anish Kapoor and Ben Richardson amongst others.

Source: The Independent

J.M.W. Turner’s Paintings Set Free – Next stop Canada

We on the West Coast of the United States have been privileged this year by having available to us the largest showing of Britain’s arguably greatest artist, J.M.W. Turner, ever seen on Pacific shores. More than 60 paintings in oil and water color by Turner have been on exhibition here. First at the Getty in Los Angeles, then — and for three more weeks — at the DeYoung in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

I’ve seen the show twice, taking the better part of a day each time. Along with Vermeer and Van Gogh, Turner’s one of my very favorite artists. The experience of this show rates as one of the aesthetic highlights of my life. I’m a bit surprised it hasn’t had a greater impact in the media of each city, but such are the times we live in. Nevertheless, the exhibit has been a hit in both LA and San Francisco.

A look at the Tate Britain’s traveling exhibition of late Turner pictures, entitled “Painting Set Free.”

Turner, who lived from 1775 to 1851, was a Romantic artist. Born in London on Shakespeare’s birthday, April 23rd, Turner created some of the most magnificent seascapes, landscapes, and history paintings ever produced.

A master of light and color who worshiped the sun, his glorious figurative work prefigured abstraction in his evolving effort to depict the beauty he saw around him. But his art did not simply evoke natural beauty and antiquity, it embraced the advent of technology as Britain moved from the Age of Sail to the Age of Steam, the expansion of democracy as liberal reforms Turner backed came into being, the abolition of slavery, and premonitions of the end of the British Empire even as it moved to its zenith.

Turner’s work encompassed both the era of the Napoleonic Wars and the springtime of the Victorian Age.

As a result of Britain’s chronic state of war from the early 1790s till 1815 with first Revolutionary and then Imperial France, Turner’s incipient wanderlust wasn’t allowed to come to the fore until his early middle age. But his stunning scenes of Britain, and occasional foreign trips amidst breaks in near perpetual war, more than sufficed.

After Napoleon was finally defeated once and for all at Waterloo — which led to a brilliant Turner depicting not the glory of Wellington’s triumph and Britain’s ascendance as the leading world power but the bloody butcher’s bill of victory — Turner was at last free to roam. By the time of the period covered by this exhibition, Turner’s career from age 60 on to his passing at 76 in 1851, he was a veteran traveler.

In addition to his beloved British coastal, river, country, and architectural scenes, Turner was drawn, both for pure pictorial studies and and historical and contemporary comment to the Alps, Holland, Rome, Carthage, and, above all, Venice. The latter, far more than his native London, where he characteristically lived on the River Thames, was his municipal muse, as it were. That most aquatic, aesthetic and feminine of European cities, Venice was for Turner cityscape and seascape as fundamental dreamscape.

As thrilling as his meditations in light, color, and historicity could be when focused on Rome and Carthage in particular — especially with regard to not so veiled commentary on the exciting rise and elegiacal decline of empire — Venice provided Turner with an ever renewable source of energy and wonder, ethereal as may be.

But for all that, it was the sea that proved to be Turner’s most sustaining source of fascination and arena for depicting action. It was his haven away from the hustle and bustle and hassle of London.

As eminent as Turner was in his own lifetime — not for him the scorn and anonymity afforded Van Gogh, or, for that matter, the modest acclaim of Vermeer in his own lifetime — and towering as his reputation is in Britain today, Turner was also quite controversial. Though he was clearly the leading British artist of her storied reign, Queen Victoria took a dislike to Turner and refused to knight him. Bizarre, considering all the fundamental nonentities who have come to bear the title “Sir.”

Ironically, given his depiction of British naval prowess in the Napoleonic Wars — especially potent for its infrequency in Turner’s work, as he was no jingo — it was a French monarch who was to pursue a royal friendship with Turner and shower him with royal honors.

If Turner was bothered by his lack of relationship with the monarch whose name came to define much of the century, it certainly had no discernible effect on his work. He was extremely prolific in his late period and painted to suit his own sensibility.

It was a less distinct seeming, more ethereal looking aesthetic for the most part, though with The Fighting Temeraire and other works he’s every bit as sharp and distinct as in the works with which he developed his great reputation. Yet he seemed to be searching for a higher sense of figuration, reduced to its shining essence in light and color.

It’s for this reason that he was hailed in the 1960s as a proto-modernist. Of course, it’s the fate of those in every modern era to imagine that their scene represents the culmination.

The Fighting Temeraire was voted Britain’s favorite painting in a recent BBC poll. The picture, which depicts a great sailing ship of the line from the Napoleonic Wars, one of the keys to Britain’s world historical victory at Trafalgar, being towed by a steamship to be broken up decades after winning its fame, was a natural for an appearance in Skyfall, the 50th anniversary Bond film. Here Bond contemplates the painting in London’s National Gallery and meets his new quartermaster.

The curators behind Painting Set Free aim to debunk this sense of Turner as the first abstract painter. In their intriguing catalogue, they present some potential physiological reasons for the change in Turner’s art. His eyes may have been damaged by his lifelong habit of gazing at the sun. He was ill, perhaps diabetic, though he lived to the age of 76.

But in the end, they settle, as it were, on the theory that Turner was simply further following his own genius and presenting his depictions of the world around him in more pared down and fundamental ways, at least by his lights. And light was always a cornerstone motif for this richly rewarding artist.

The Tate Britain in London is Britain’s national gallery of British art from 1500 to the present. As such it is the greatest repository of Turner’s art, which naturally can be found in private collections and museums around the world. The Tate was the recipient of Turner’s posthumous bequest to the nation.

In addition to his increasingly inspired use of light and color, Turner in his late phase continued his characteristic mastery of perspective and use of pictorial space.

In this exhibition, I’m especially struck by a number of pieces. 1845’s Norham Castle, Sunrise is frequently cited as evidence of Turner’s prefiguration of Impressionism and abstraction. It’s a paring down of figuration to the sublime. I don’t think Turner thought he was anticipating the future, he simply painted what he wanted to paint.

The Blue Rigi, Sunrise, his celebrated depiction of the mountain and nearby lake, looks almost Japanese in its aspect.

Ehrenbreitstein depicts an immense ancient German fortress at the confluence of two rivers, almost a continental Gibraltar.

Heidelberg: Sunset is a gorgeous depiction of the famed German university town on a tributary of the Rhine.

The Dogano from the Steps of the Europa is an exquisite Venetian scene, a shimmering vision from the mouth of the Grand Canal.

Ancient Rome and Modern Rome make a lovely matched set, fuel for political imagination.

The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, which happened not long before Turner painted it in the mid-1830s, is is an avalanche of color and historicity viewed from across the Thames.

And Approach to Venice is simply a shimmering vision beneath a sky alight with riotous color, poised between night and day, as vessels cross the Lagoon approaching the distant city.

With such wonderful Turners at last en masse in California, I’m struck by what the artist might have made of the the sights to be found here.

Less populated parts of Northern California might seem reminiscent of Britain, much chronicled in the Turner oeuvre. But one can only imagine how Turner might be inspired by the Southern California coast, San Francisco, and the Sierra Nevada mountains, not to mention the desert.

Sadly, it’s never to be. But what Turner left behind will suffice.

It’s a visionary legacy of light, color, wonder, and contemplation. An eternal avenue of timelessness in an increasingly ephemeral world.

The exhibition moves next to Canada, where it will open in Ontario on October 31st.

by William Bradley

Source: Huffington Post


“J.M.W. Turner at the de Young: Painting Set Not Included”: A confusing title for an amazing exhibition

Visitors to the de Young Museum’s ongoing exhibition of J.M.W. Turner’s late works gush, for the most part, about the famous British artist’s use of color, light and “dazzling” depictions of stormy ocean weather. But what about those who are feeling a bit let down?

Although the museum advertises the exhibition across the city on banners, buses and posters in shop windows with the headline “J.M.W. Turner: Painting Set Free,” visitors do not actually get — as these words might be interpreted — free painting sets after shelling out $20 ($25 on weekends) for a ticket to see the show.

Ah, syntactic ambiguity! What a timeless and often hilarious linguistic hazard. Ken Garcia, the de Young’s director of government and community affairs, says a few visitors inquired after free painting sets when a sign bearing the show’s title appeared in the museum store in advance of the exhibition. But those queries quickly petered out. Garcia can’t say for sure if they were serious or in jest.

Painting Set Free is actually a travelling exhibition, making its third stop at the de Young after stints at the Tate Museum in London and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Neither the Tate nor the Getty handed out free painting sets during their shows.

Joseph Mallord William Turner, ‘Norham Castle, Sunrise, ca.1845. (Photo: Tate, London)
Joseph Mallord William Turner, ‘Norham Castle, Sunrise, ca.1845. (Photo: Tate, London)

Shortly after the exhibition opened in Sept. 2014 at the Tate, a cheeky University of Birmingham professor took the pun to Twitter. “How lovely of@Tate to give away free sets of paints when you go to see their Turner exhibition!#paintingsetfree,” joked@draliceroberts.

Amy Hood, senior communications specialist for the J. Paul Getty Trust, says it’s all in good fun. “Once or twice, when the show first opened, visitors inquired,” Hood says. “But I hear that they themselves were joking; just having fun with the pun.”

Hood says the show was extraordinarily popular. But concrete data on whether or not patrons thronged to the museum to collect on a misconstrued offer of free stuff is impossible to gather.

Did the exhibition arrive in San Francisco with a warning from its previous hosts? No, Garcia says. It didn’t warrant such a disclaimer.

If we could travel back in time and have some input with the exhibition naming committee, we might propose some alternate subtitles to alleviate any confusion, real or otherwise:

J.M.W. Turner: Paintings of Storms, Ships and Smoke
J.M.W. Turner: The Original Painter of Light
J.M.W. Turner: Your Grandmother Will Love this Show

Just under two months remain to see Painting Set Free at the de Young. But keep this in mind: If Turner’s moody oils and expressive watercolors inspire you to pick up a brush, you’ll need to procure your own supplies.

by Sarah Hotchkiss

Source: KQED Arts


NGV conservator John Payne restores JMW Turner’s Dunstanburgh Castle

National Gallery of Victoria senior conservator John Payne is restoring Dunstanburgh Castle, north-east coast of Northumberland, sunrise after a squally night, 1798, by English painter J. M. W. Turner. Photo: Jason South
National Gallery of Victoria senior conservator John Payne is restoring Dunstanburgh Castle, north-east coast of Northumberland, sunrise after a squally night, 1798, by English painter J. M. W. Turner. Photo: Jason South

“It’s a nice way to see a Turner,” says John Payne, with more than a modicum of understatement.

The National Gallery of Victoria’s senior conservator is part-way through the restoration of Dunstanburgh Castle, north-east coast of Northumberland, sunrise after a squally night, 1798, by celebrated English painter J. M. W. Turner.

Up close, the painting from the NGV collection (a gift to the gallery from the Duke of Westminster in 1888, it is one of three Turners held by the NGV) reveals much about the artist, his practice and process.

“This is incredibly vigorous,” Payne says of Turner’s style and technique, pointing out the print of Turner’s finger where he has wiped away a splodge of paint, and scratches made with the handle of his paintbrush marking the initial outline of the landscape. “For the late 18th century, it’s quite an adrenalin rush.”

As Payne works in the studio at NGV International, to a soundtrack of Van Morrison and Joni Mitchell through his headphones (he listened to U2 while restoring Tiepolo’s The Banquet of Cleopatra), his careful removal of layers of varnish from restorations by previous NGV conservators in the 1920s and 1950s reveals further details.

Tiny figures of fishermen with a boat can be seen in a cave set back from the rocky shore; the detail of the rocks in the foreground becomes clearer.

And the damage to the canvas – particularly in the middle upper section, from varnish of an earlier era – which has been Payne’s focus this week, also becomes apparent.

The higher walls of the studio bear the X-rays of some of the best known paintings held by the NGV, including Tom Roberts’ classic Australian painting Shearing the Rams. Those X-rays, used by conservators to reveal the layers of work over the course of the work’s history, are like ghosts of paintings past. Payne points out how Roberts’  shearer initially had a rod-straight back, before the painter changed the pose to the hunched-over form we are now so familiar with.

It’s not the first Turner that Payne has restored – he recently completed work on Falls of Schaffhausen (Val d’Aosta), circa 1845, which is now back on display in the gallery – but it does seem particularly significant.

As a younger, less-experienced conservator he was asked more than 30 years ago to restore this particular painting, and declined.

Coming back to it now he finds a deep satisfaction in tackling the work, removing the earlier varnish and applying resin and pigments, applied with a brush bearing the tiniest tip.

“The poetry of this for me is the circular nature of looking at it 30 years on,” Payne says.

“I hadn’t realised it had hung around in the background of my thinking for a long time. It’s fantastic to [be able to] preserve it.”
by Debbie Cuthbertson

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald