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National Gallery of Australia opens "Turner from the Tate: The Making of a Master"
J.M.W. Turner, Regulus, exhibited 1828. Photo: © Tate, 2013.

CANBERRA.- The National Gallery of Australia presented the major international exhibition, Turner from the Tate: The Making of a Master, which is being staged as a highlight of the Centenary of Canberra celebrations.

Turner from the Tate offers fresh perspectives on J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851) Britain’s most renowned artist, a key figure of the Romantic period. Throughout his career, Turner revolutionised the idea of landscape painting. From detailed examinations of topographical scenes, to highly experimental renditions of mountain and sea scapes, the artist shows his mastery of the mediums of oil watercolour painting.

Turner from the Tate includes many of the artist’s most famous paintings. London’s Tate, the institution from where the exhibition is drawn, holds the largest collection of Turner’s works in the world, as a result of the Turner Bequest, which was the artist’s gift to the British people.

‘We are honoured to present Turner from the Tate this winter. The exhibition will not only delight admirers of the artist, with works never before seen in Australia, but it will also introduce the splendour and power of Turner’s art to a new generation of Australians’, said Ron Radford AM, Director, National Gallery of Australia.

Turner’s career began in the turbulent times of war with the Continent, which meant that his travels were initially confined to England, Wales and Scotland. There he honed his extraordinary skills in drawings and paintings of idyllic rural views, castles and patriotic themes. When peace returned, he travelled to France, Germany, Switzerland and finally Italy, the artistic home of his heroes Nicholas Poussin and Claude Lorrain. Turner was highly successful, eccentric in manner, and unique in his artistic achievements.

The exhibition presents a comprehensive overview of Turner’s monumental landscapes and atmospheric, light-filled seascapes, while offering extraordinary insights into his working life and practice. The exhibition includes over 110 works, ranging from expansive oil paintings and watercolours to intimate sketches, as well as Turner’s own paintbox and sketchbooks.

Turner from the Tate features remarkable paintings of iconic subjects, such as the exquisite Venice, the Bridge of Sighs 1840. Ambitious early works combine with mid-career paintings such as The fall of an avalanche in the Grisons 1810, which has drama and pathos. The exhibition culminates with powerful seascapes, including A disaster at sea c.1835 depicting the notorious wreck of a convict ship bound for New South Wales, in which all the women and children aboard drowned.

‘The National Gallery of Australia hosted a very successful exhibition of Turner’s work, 17 years ago, in 1996. We expect many thousands of visitors to take the opportunity to see a fresh perspective on this important British artist and to see so many works that have never travelled to Australia before’, said Ron Radford.

The ACT Government through Australian Capital Tourism has generously contributed $500,000 towards the national marketing campaign and for the staging of this additional major exhibition during the Centenary of Canberra.

ACT Deputy Chief Minister, and Minister for Tourism and Events, Andrew Barr MLA, said the ACT Government is pleased that the National Gallery of Australia has been able to secure another major international exhibition of this calibre during Canberra’s Centenary year.

‘Toulouse-Lautrec: Paris and the Moulin Rouge (14 December 2012 - 2 April 2013) proved to be a wonderful start to the Centenary of Canberra celebrations, receiving over 170,000 visitors with approximately 80% from interstate, and injecting an estimated $37 million into the ACT economy. As winter is traditionally a quieter period for the tourism sector in Canberra, I look forward to continuing this success with the Turner from the Tate exhibition ensuring Canberra is buzzing throughout the cooler months of our Centenary year as well,’ Mr Barr said.

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