In the first major exhibition of Turner's works in almost 20 years, the Turner from the Tate exhibition is currently running in Adelaide (until 19th May) and then moves to the National Gallery of Australia from June 1st (ends September 8th).
My knowledge of Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775 - 1851) had previously been limited to knowing that he was an English romantic artist who experimented with light and colour in his works. I didn't really know a lot else so I was really surprised that I enjoyed this exhibition so much. The Art Gallery of South Australia ran almost ongoing tours for small groups during the collection. I attached myself to several of these groups and gained a much better understanding of the Master and his works.
The exhibition is extensive and covers only finished works from his collection. It displays his life's works from his time as a 13 year old boy, through to his most well known magnificent masterpieces. He worked in various mediums including oils on both canvas and wood, watercolours and pencil.
As his works from the Tate include his early pieces, you can follow his development as you study the same painting, created much later in his life after his experiments with light. Some of the works on display have never been exhibited before and several of his great works came to light only after his death in 1851. In some of his most impressive pieces, his use of light to instil impressions, is unbelievably effective.
Portrait of JMW Turner - 1851- Lithograph on Paper
The collection is extensive so allow plenty of time for meandering from room to room, with or without a guide. London's Tate Britain houses the largest collection of Turner paintings and this exhibition is drawn from there. It contains 40 oil paintings and 70 works on paper, all portraying the journey that established Turner as the master of the European landscape.