BARCELONA, SPAIN.- CaixaForum presents today Turner and Venice, through June 5, 2005. The exhibition was curated by Ian Warrell, Collections Curator at Tate, and produced in collaboration with Venezia Musei. The exhibition will bring together around 120 works (oil paintings, watercolors, as well as prints, maps and Turners Venice sketchbooks) that chart the intense relation between the great English artist and Venice, which he visited at various times between 1819 and 1840.The works dedicated to Venice exemplify especially important aspects of Turners art - in particular, his handling of light. Some of them being exhibited to the public for the first time, they offer one the chance to chart the development of the artists own personal poetics. The exhibition also provides an opportunity to compare Turners work with that of artists who were important points for reference for him - for example, Canaletto, Marlow, Caffi and Doyle.
This is the first major exhibition devoted to JMW Turners trips to Venice. It spans the twenty years between Turners first visit to Venice in 1819, when he was already forty-four, and his last in 1840. Even among Venices many distinguished artistic visitors, Turner remains one of the few to find a true echo of his own sensibility in the unique qualities of this sublime floating city. His career was remarkable for its successes and its innovations, yet his images of Venice were quickly recognized by their first viewers as some of his most magical, luminous works. Turners vision remains as vital today, expressing as it does the often inchoate and funereal qualities of the Venetian experience.
The exhibition is organized in collaboration with Tate Britain, where it was shown during the autumn of 2003. Most of the works come from Turners own bequest, which was reunited in the Clore Gallery at the Millbank branch of the Tate in 1987 (the watercolors had were stored at the British Museum between 1929 and 1986). The Bequest contains all the works found in Turners studio after his death: some 300 oil paintings; plus all his watercolors and sketchbooks, which amount to more than 20,000 sheets of paper. It is only in the last thirty years that the full range of this material has received serious scholarly study, and as a result some works are only now being exhibited for the first time. During this period the Tate has mounted a long series of exhibitions exploring the diverse interests reflected in Turners output, charting his fascination with poetry, perspective and print-making, as well as his endless wanderings in Britain and on the Continent.