Turner and Venice will be the first exhibition ever devoted to Joseph Mallord William Turner’s celebrated views of Venice is to be shown at the Kimbell Art Museum from February 15 to May 30, 2004. In its showing at the Kimbell, it will be the first Turner exhibition of such scale and importance to be seen in the United States since 1966.
The exhibition spans the twenty years between his first visit to Venice in 1819 and his last in 1840. His many paintings, watercolors, and drawings of the city form one of the richest themes in his mature work, a testament to one of the most compelling encounters of artist and place in the history of art.
That this is the first exhibition to focus on Turner’s trips to Venice is a remarkable fact, considering both the crucial importance of the city in Turner’s work and the sustained popularity of his Venetian views since they were first exhibited at the Royal Academy in his own lifetime. Even within a career that was remarkable for its successes and innovations, Turner’s images of Venice were quickly recognized by their first viewers as some of his most magical works. The use of vibrant color, which was generally a problem for his contemporaries, seemed in these paintings to be absolutely at one with the subject matter.
Turner and Venice is organized by Tate Britain, in association with the Kimbell Art Museum, and is curated by Ian Warrell, collections curator of Tate Britain.