Tate Britain presents the exhibition Late Turner – Painting Set Free

J.M.W. Turner, Ancient Rome; Agrippina Landing with the Ashes of Germanicus, 1839. Photo: Tate. Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856The show also brings together major series of works including a group of unusual square pictures, casting a light on Turner’s innovative techniques.

LONDON. The EY Exhibition: Late Turner – Painting Set Free (10 September 2014 – 25 January 2015) is the first major exhibition to survey the achievements of one of Britain’s greatest and best-loved painters Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) during his final period (1835-1850). The exhibition in Tate Britain reassesses the extraordinary body of work Turner created during this period, including some of his most celebrated works, announced tate.org.uk.

Light and Colour (Goethe’s Theory) - the Morning after the Deluge - Moses Writing the Book of Genesis, 1843. Photo: Tate. Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856The exhibition begins in 1835, the year that Turner reached 60, and closes with his last exhibits at the Royal Academy in 1850. It demonstrates how his closing years were a time of exceptional energy and vigour, initiated by one of his most extensive tours of Europe. Bringing together 180 works from the UK and abroad, it seeks to challenge assumptions around the idea of the ‘elderly’ artist, as well as his radical techniques, processes and materials during this productive time.

The show includes iconic paintings like Ancient Rome; Agrippina Landing with the Ashes of Germanicus exh. 1839 (Tate), which is united with its pair Modern Rome – Campo Vaccino (J. Paul Getty Museum, LA), The Wreck Buoy 1849 (National Museums Liverpool) and watercolours such as Heidelberg: Sunset c.1840 (Manchester City Galleries). Rather than focusing on any assumptions about the pessimism of old age, Turner maintained his commitment to the observation of nature. He brought renewed energy to the exploration of the social, technological and scientific developments of modern life, in works such as Rain, Steam, and Speed – The Great Western Railway 1844 (National Gallery). He also continued to engage with the religious and historical themes that linked him to the cultural traditions of his era.

JMW Turner, Self-Portrait, circa 1799. Photo: Tate. Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856* * *
I found in him a somewhat eccentric, keen-mannered, matter-of-fact, English-minded gentleman: good-natured evidently, bad-tempered evidently, hating humbug of all sorts, shrewd, perhaps a little selfish, highly intellectual, the powers of his mind not brought out with any delight in their manifestation, or intention of display, but flashing out occasionally in a word or a look.
John Ruskin (1819-1900)
was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era.

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Featuring many large-scale oil paintings alongside drawings, prints and watercolours, the exhibition addresses Turner’s continual re-invention of his practice through experimentation with materials and techniques. It also demonstrates his radicalism during this period – while his Victorian contemporaries were exploring other priorities, he continued to champion an unfettered creativity. He consciously developed his style and technique with each new project, driving the message of his paintings into the very materials and formats with which he worked. These works were often poised equivocally between finished and unfinished, for example in a series of reworkings in oil of subjects originally published as prints in his Liber Studiorum.

J.M.W. Turner, Rain, Steam, and Speed - The Great Western Railway, 1844. Photo: © The National Gallery, LondonDuring his final period Turner continued to widen his exposure in the marketplace. From pictures of the whaling industry in the 1840s to ‘sample studies’ and finished watercolours such as The Blue Rigi, Sunrise 1842 (Tate), he constantly sought to demonstrate his appeal to new admirers, led by John Ruskin who famously described Turner as the greatest of the age.

J.M.W. Turner (23 April 1775 – 19 December 1851) was born in London, the son of a barber. He entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1789 at the age of 14 before becoming a member of the RA in 1802 and Professor of Perspective in 1807. His work was prolific and varied including drawings, prints, watercolours and oils. Throughout his later years he continued to tour Europe, his last trip taking place in 1845. He exhibited his last four pictures at the Royal Academy in 1850 and died in 1851, his body being laid to rest in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral.

The EY Exhibition: Late Turner – Painting Set Free is curated by Sam Smiles, Professor of Art History and Visual Culture, Exeter University, David Blayney Brown, Manton Curator of British Art 1790-1850, Tate Britain and Amy Concannon, Assistant Curator 1790-1850, Tate Britain, the exhibition be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue from Tate Publishing and a programme of talks and events in the gallery. JMW Turner: Painting Set Free will show at the J. Paul Getty Museum Los Angeles, USA (24 February – 24 May 2015) and travel to the de Young Museum, San Francisco, USA in 2015 (20 June – 20 September 2015).

JMW Turner, Modern Rome - Campo Vaccino, 1839. Photo: The J. Paul Getty MuseumThe EY Exhibition

The EY Exhibition: Late Turner – Painting Set Free is the second EY Exhibition in a three-year arts partnership between EY and Tate. The first exhibition was The EY Exhibition: Paul Klee – Making Visible which ran at Tate Modern from 14 October 2013 to 9 March 2014. The partnership helps Tate to realise its ambitious arts programme across Tate Modern and Tate Britain, with EY’s support being extended through corporate memberships at Tate Liverpool, Tate St Ives and at many of the Plus Tate partners around the country. The partnership, announced in July 2013 makes EY one of the largest corporate supporters of Tate.

Martin Cook, Managing Partner Commercial, UK & Ireland at EY, said: Turner was not only a driven artist, who had to draw and paint all the time, but he was also complex, with some of his iconic work considered controversial and radical for his time. We are delighted that The EY Exhibition: Late Turner - Painting Set Free is the second exhibition as part of the arts partnership between EY and Tate. This unique relationship is an example of how EY teams with other organisations that share our purpose and commitment to building a better working world and builds on our previous support of Turner exhibitions in 2003 and 2005.

About EY

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Visit in Tate Britain

Opening times:
Every day, 10.00-18.00;
Closed 24 – 26 December.

Adult £16.50 (without donation £15.00);
Concession: £14.50 (without donation £13.10);
Help Tate by including the voluntary donation to enable Gift Aid;
Additional booking fee of £1.75 (£2 via telephone) per transaction applies;
Under 12s go free (up to four per parent or guardian).

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