Turner from the Tate at Canberra

Last post I wrote about going to Canberra. The impetus for the trip was to go to the exhibition “Turner from the Tate”.

J.M.W. Turner (1775 – 1851) was a sensational painter. Even today many of his works are cutting edge; the impact of them in the 1800’s was forceful. I am currently reading about him, and may well write some more in a later post. (I am the living example of ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’!) If you are unfamiliar with him as an artist, have a look at the link above.

The exhibition showed Turner’s work over his life. His early works didn’t do much for me. However I loved his watercolours, and it is those paintings that I want to show you today. I will show you his oils in the next post.

Before I do, a couple of words about my photos — they are not very good!! Foolishly I didn’t take the charger for my camera’s battery. Of course, as soon as I got to the gallery the warning light started flashing. The battery lasted, but I didn’t feel confident about changing settings as I went. Consequently they are too yellow, and some are down-right crooked. Of course, they would have been perfect otherwise! (Or maybe not!) And I did have permission to take them.

Turner's travelling paint box. These are the paints that he actually used! (Sigh..)

Turner’s travelling paint box. These are the paints that he actually used! (Sigh..)

A sketch book from his very extensive collection. He was a prolific artist, and seemed to have a sketch book ready to use at all times.

A sketch book from his very extensive collection. He was a prolific artist, and seemed to have a sketch book ready to use at all times.

Scarborough c 1825

Scarborough c 1825

According to the catalogue, in the 1810’s Turner began to plan out his watercolour images as blocks, or bands of colour, or ‘colour beginnings’. Some are preparations for specific works, but others are experiments with different effects of light or atmosphere.  The following are four photos of such works.

A storm c. 1840's

A storm c. 1840’s

A beginning, c1840's

A beginning, c1840’s

Blue moon over yellow sands, c. 1824

Blue moon over yellow sands, c. 1824

Compositional, colour and underpainting study for "Longship's Lighthouse, Land's End" c. 1834

Compositional, colour and underpainting study for “Longship’s Lighthouse, Land’s End” c. 1834

Turner was a master of watercolour, using the medium in ways that had not been used before. He wanted to give his watercolour work equal prominence with his oils. This painting is large.

High Force, Fall of the Tees, Yorkshire, 1816.

High Force, Fall of the Tees, Yorkshire, 1816.

Corner detail of: High Force, Fall of the Tees, Yorkshire, 1816.

Corner detail of: High Force, Fall of the Tees, Yorkshire, 1816.

The following paintings show some of Turner’s fascinations — for the sea, for Venice, for mountains. But his paintings, no matter whether oils or watercolour, always show his love of light and atmosphere. (And sorry, I don’t seem to have recorded the titles of some of these.)

IMG_7935

 

IMG_7936 IMG_7937

A Swiss lake; also known as Lake Lucerne: the Bay of Uri from Brunnen  1843?A Swiss lake; also known as Lake Lucerne: the Bay of Uri from Brunnen 1843?

Lake Lucern, with the Rigi, c. 1841-42

Lake Lucern, with the Rigi, c. 1841-42

I was so delighted to see this last painting. It comes from the National Gallery of Victoria, so it was like meeting up with a favourite someone you haven’t seen for a long time. We are very lucky to have such a masterpiece in our state collection.

The Red Rigi 1842

Advertisements

About anne54

Botanic artist
This entry was posted in Artists, Travels and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Turner from the Tate at Canberra

  1. Fantastic set of images. I’ve never been to a Turner exhibition, so have never seen such a volume of his work in the flesh. I’ve seen individual works in galleries but not the variety that you had in the Tate, Canberra.

    Like

    • anne54 says:

      As you know, Australia is at the end of the known universe. This means that any art work that comes, comes in bulk! So we get one or two blockbuster shows each year. They are very expensive to put on — the insurance alone must cost a fortune! — so they are large shows, well curated and well advertised across the country, and often region. That’s why we were able to see a large body of Turner’s work from the Tate in London. Currently in Melbourne there is a large exhibition of Monet’s work. (Long answer to your short statement!)

      Like

  2. Pingback: Turner from the Tate in Canberra — part 2 | Anne Lawson

  3. metan says:

    Ah, the flat camera battery is the bane of my life too! Great pictures though, look at that wonderful piece in the sketchbook. It is a work of art on its own isn’t it? (and could hardly be described as a sketch! 🙂 )

    Like

    • anne54 says:

      I always get surprised when the low battery icon flashes. For some reason I expect the charge to last for ever! One of the worst times to have my battery go flat was at Monet’s garden! If there is a spot for photographers it is there (if you can get past all the other tourists…)

      I agree with you about the “sketch” book — worthy to be on the wall, especially if it was my wall!

      Like

  4. EllaDee says:

    Your pics are good, and at least I got to see them. My friend asked did I want to come down to Canberra to see the Turner exhibition with her but I was a bit lukewarm, as she knew I would be. Still, great to see what was there.

    Like

  5. Pingback: Sketchbooks | Anne Lawson

Nothing like a good natter, so let's have a chat!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s