Monday, 20 May 2013

Turner from the Tate - Downunder!

It's almost as though paintings need to 'earn their keep' these days. They seem to be moved around the world at will - in great secrecy for security reasons - and at great cost! But what opportunities we have when a 'shipment' comes to town. Suddenly the world seems a little smaller and a lot more exciting!
Peace - Burial at Sea - 1842
I popped over to my home town Adelaide recently for a 30th birthday celebration (being more than twice that age I hasten to add, it was sadly not mine!) And the bonus addition to the trip - other than seeing special friends - was a visit to the charming Art Gallery of South Australia which was hosting (is that the word) a marvellous collection of 100 works of art from the Tate Collection of J.M.W. Turner (1775 – 1851), one of Britain's greatest artists. Some of the works have never been previously exhibited.
A disaster at sea
The exhibition closed in Adelaide on 19 May but in true 'earning their keep' it is now on its way to the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra (1 June - 8 September). A timely weekend in Adelaide gave me an opportunity too good to miss. We headed in for a quick overview of the exhibition, before having lunch at the trendy Gallery Cafe and then returning to the exhibition for an indepth look with a Gallery Guide. We didn't miss a thing! His sketchbooks, paints and notes gave it an intimate air.

Venice - The Bridge of Sighs - 1840
I always remember my favourite 'Aunt', who hailed from England, talking about Turner and his skies.  I used to spend time with 'him' in the late 60's (that dates me) at the Tate so it was almost like visiting a friend - albeit with many paintings I hadn't seen before - in Adelaide. His oils were wonderful but it was his watercolours which 'blew me away' this time. They seem to have such spontaneity and a lightness of touch. They were achingly beautiful.
Venice, Moonrise - 1840
Scarborough town and castle: morning: boys catching crabs - 1810

Recently I received a blog on John Singer Sargent watercolours at the Brooklyn Museum . Sargent (1856 – 1925) was an American artist, considered by many to be the leading portrait painter of his generation. The exhibition closes 28 July or you can visit the exhibition in Boston in October. It seems I'm drawn to watercolours in ways that surprise. They have the gentle touch.
Sargent - Venice
If I was to compare the two then Turner wins by a short half head! Well probably a furlong! Do you agree? Whatever you do try to get to Turner in Canberra later in the year. And of course if you're in the States why not visit either Brooklyn or Boston. Aren't we lucky.

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