Toronto will be treated to a rare exhibit of the work of British painter J.M.W. Turner in October 2015. The Art Gallery of Ontario has announced that J.M.W. Turner: Painting Set Free will arrive at the AGO, the only Canadian stop on the tour and will feature over 50 of Turner’s paintings and watercolours on loan from Tate Britain. These works were created by Turner in the last 15 years of his life. This event is sure to be one of Toronto’s popular attractions for fall 2015.
“Through his art, [Turner] invites us to bear witness to the rapidly changing world of his time and to delight in the power of the artistic imagination,” says Stephanie Smith, the AGO’s Chief Curator.
J.M.W. Turner: Painting Set Free, which premiered at Tate Britain in September 2014, focuses on the last phase of the artist’s career from 1835 to 1850. This period of Turner’s work is noted for its vibrancy, which was inspired by his tour of Europe. The installation at the AGO will be coordinated by Lloyd DeWitt, AGO Curator of European Art.
In his later works, Turner emphasized sublime colour palettes, textures and a dramatic use of light. Highlights of the exhibition include Ancient Rome: Agrippina Landing with the Ashes of Germanicus (exhibited 1839); Angel standing in the Sun (exhibited 1846); Snow Storm – Steam Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth (exhibited 1842); as well as watercolours, including the Fire at the Grand Storehouse of the Tower of London (1841) and The Blue Rigi, Sunrise (1842)
Although Turner was an enormous figure in the art world, DeWitt says, “It was during this last, most fruitful period of his life that his art was most misunderstood.” DeWitt notes that Turner was undaunted by his critics and “carried on experimenting with unusual subject matters and different canvas formats and mastering his free and spontaneous techniques in both oil and watercolour.”
J.M.W. Turner: Painting Set Free opens at the AGO on October 31, 2015 and runs until Jan. 31, 2016. A catalogue published by the Tate and edited by David Blayney Brown, Amy Concannon and Sam Smiles, J.M.W. Turner: Painting Set Free, features more than 100 colour plates and will be available for sale at the AGO for $63.