Whilst these three great artists have been the subject of numerous exhibitions and publications, the relationship between them has never fully been explored. Now, for the first time, a team of specialists examine this artistic triangle. Exhibition at Tate Britain, Spring 2004.
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Katharine A. Lochnan is a senior curator of prints and drawings at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Ian Warrell is a Tate curator and editor of Turner and Venice.From Publishers Weekly:
Surely it’s an overstatement to call Claude Monet’s seminal 1872-3 canvas Impression, Sunrise the "offspring" of J.M.W. Turner’s sunsets and J.M. Whistler’s nocturnes, as Lochnan does in the preface to this book, which accompanies an exhibit that she curated at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. Not that there were no connections among the three painters: Turner clearly anticipated the later two artists’ interest in delicate, fleeting light effects; favorite subjects for all three included sunsets in Venice and fogs on the Thames, and all three were dogged by accusations that their sketchy, spontaneous pictures looked "unfinished." But by exaggerating these connections into a direct lineage, Lochnan flattens out the complexities and falls back on tenuous hypotheticals. Case in point: in one long caption she breezily progresses from the possibility that Monet "could have seen" a particular Venetian pastel of Whistler’s to the certainty that "Whistler’s pastels must have been in Monet’s mind when he visited the city." The seven curators and academics recruited to supplement Lochnan’s text take a more sober and nuanced view of the relations, perhaps because they have less stake in the exhibit’s premise of direct influence. Art historian John House, for example, supplies a thoughtful essay on Turner’s effect on Impressionism that never goes beyond the evidence, concluding that "the question of Turner’s influence on their work is more complex, and any answers are clouded by later comments and reminiscences from the artists themselves." But it’s the carefully chosen, gorgeously reproduced images themselves that make the most compelling evidence for the sympathies and rivalries among the three artists, who are no less fascinating for being, at times, as ambiguous as the misty mood-scapes which they drew.
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