February 20–May 31, 2020

J.M.W. Turner: Quest for the Sublime

Ingram Gallery

  • J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851). Peace—Burial at Sea, exhibited 1842. Oil on canvas, 34 1/4 x 34 1/8 in. Tate: Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856. Photo © Tate, 2019

  • J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851). Small Boats beside a Man-o’-War, 1796–97. Gouache and watercolor on paper, 13 7/8 x 24 1/4 in. Tate: Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856. Photo © Tate, 2019

  • J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851). Venice, the Bridge of Sighs, exhibited 1840. Oil on canvas, 27 x 36 in. Tate: Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856. Photo © Tate, 2019

  • J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851). Lausanne: Sunset, 1841–42. Graphite and watercolor on paper, 9 7/8 x 14 3/8 in. Tate: Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856. Photo © Tate, 2019

  • J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851). Grenoble from the River Drac with Mont Blanc in the Distance, ca. 1802. Oil on canvas, 14 1/4 x 25 1/4 in. Tate: Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856. Photo © Tate, 2019

  • J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851). Fishermen at Sea, exhibited 1796. Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 1/8 in. Tate: Purchased 1972. Photo © Tate, 2019

  • J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851). Geneva, the Jura Mountains and Isle Rousseau, Sunset, 1841. Watercolor on paper, 9 x 11 1/2 in. Tate: Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856. Photo © Tate, 2019

  • J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851). Tivoli: Tobias and the Angel, ca. 1835. Oil on canvas, 35 5/8 x 47 5/8 in. Tate: Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856. Photo © Tate, 2019

  • J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851). Sea and Sky, English Coast (?), ca. 1832. Gouache and watercolor on paper, 7 1/2 x 11 in. Tate: Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856. Photo © Tate, 2019

One of England’s greatest artists, Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) was a leading figure in the Romantic movement of the late 18th- through mid-19th centuries, which arose in response to the Enlightenment emphasis on reason over emotion. For Turner, psychological expression and the liberation of the imagination were of paramount importance. He achieved these goals by employing extreme contrasts of intense light and gloomy clouds, dramatic topographies, and energetic brushstrokes.

The oil paintings and watercolors in this exhibition span Turner’s career, from the 1790s to the 1840s. Storm and flood are portrayed as compelling forces unto themselves, while also serving as settings for historical and modern dramas. Mountains and sea show the world in a state of flux: the slow creep of glaciers in the Alps, the sudden fall of an avalanche, the swell and heave of the ocean. Human transition is captured as well, with images of steamships and other suggestions of industry heralding the ascendant machine age. The exhibition concludes with elemental images of sea and sky, painted late in Turner’s life, which appear nearly abstract. These works recall an observation made by one of Turner’s contemporaries, the artist John Constable: “Turner . . . seems to paint with tinted steam, so evanescent and so airy.”

Organized in cooperation with Tate.
 

Supported in part by the 2020 Frist Gala Patrons

 

HCA Tri-Star

Platinum Sponsor

Hays Foundation

Silver Supporter

Christie’s

Supporting Sponsor

Union Station

Hospitality Sponsor

Windgate Foundation

Education and Community Support

MNAC

Supported in part by

TAC

Supported in part by

NEA Artworks

Supported in part by

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