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Landscapes in art: 1690-1998. British artists from the Tate collection

18 Jul 2015
18 Oct 2015

JUL 18, 2015
OCT 18, 2015

Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo – a museum run by the São Paulo State Secretariat of Culture – will host A Paisagem na Arte on July 18. 1690-1998. British artists from the Tate collection, organized by the Tate in association with Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo. The arrival of this important and special international exhibit celebrates the partnership between the Tate and the Pinacoteca, São Paulo’s oldest art museum, in the year it celebrates its 110th anniversary.

Curated by Richard Humphreys, the show will feature more than 100 works of great landscape and classical artists of the eighteenth century on, from the Romantics, Pre-Raphaelites and nineteenth century impressionists, to the pioneering modernist of the twentieth century and contemporary artists from recent decades – a fascinating view of the historical and cultural development of Great Britain in the context of literary, philosophical, political and social forces that have shaped the country’s growth for nearly three centuries.

The exhibit traces the remarkable development of one of Britain’s greatest contributions to European art – landscape painting – based on the Tate’s unparalleled examples of British art. Highlights include works by William Turner (1775–1851), John Constable (1776–1837), Ben Nicholson (1894–1982), and Richard Long (1945).

“Much of the British landscape painters directly or indirectly influenced the representation of landscapes in other countries, even those more distant, as can be seen by visitors walking through the permanent collection of the Pinacoteca on the second floor of the Luz building” says Tadeu Chiarelli, General Director of the Pinacoteca.

A fully illustrated catalog of the exhibit will include essays on the historical and cultural context of landscape art, the development of landscape painting, and information about the works. The exhibit, organized by the Tate in association with the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, is sponsored by AMBEV, Brasilprev Seguros e Previdência S.A., with support from the British Council and the GREAT Britain campaign. Thanks to the sponsorship of Ambev, admission to the Pinacoteca will be free of charge during the three-month exhibit!

“Landscapes in art: 1690-1998. British artists from the Tate collection” will be divided into nine parts:

Discovering Great Britain
In this section, one can observe Britain’s growing interest in natural landscapes during the eighteenth century, at a time when the fascination and pride for the homeland went hand-in-hand with the enthusiasm for the discoveries of explorers, naturalists, traders and imperialists as the British Empire expanded around the globe. The British Isles were “discovered” in the same way as the distant exotic lands.

Pastoral dreams
The term “pastoral” defines a complex array of artistic and literary forms that emerged from the classical period. Two works by Thomas Gainsborough (1727–1788) can be seen in this section: in one, a gentleman playing an instrument in an ideal world; in the other, a completely imaginary paradise of cowherds with their satisfied cattle.

The classical vision
In this section, visitors can enjoy the work by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), perhaps the greatest British landscape artist of all time, who also applied classical principles both in Italian scenes as in native panoramas. In this epoch, classical landscapes were so celebrated by the British aristocracy that many properties were renovated with the aim of incorporating the visual and architectural features thereof.

Romanticism comprises a wide range of cultural forms that emerged throughout Europe between 1770 and 1830. The greatest historical changes of the period, such as the French revolution, the Industrial Revolution and the rise of nationalism, constitute the turbulent environment in which Romanticism developed. The topographic, classical and pastoral arts influenced English Romantic painting, but in the early nineteenth century it found its own form of expression.

Fidelity to nature
The paintings in this section are related to the idea of fidelity to nature and represent a rejection of many aspects of romanticism. The practice of making outdoor observation drawings of nature became popular among professional artists and amateurs in the late eighteenth century and was one of the pillars of what became known as “picturesque.”

Impressionism was a radical movement of French art in the 1860s and 1870s. French experimental art of the nineteenth century emerged from a debate on the value of the rough draft in relation to the finished painting and about the power of academic institutions over artistic training and art exhibits. Since the beginning of the century, many French artists had admired British landscape painting because of its anti-academic freshness. The links between British and French art were varied and complex, and artists from both countries often crossed the English Channel.

Rediscovering Great Britain
In the early twentieth century, British painting encompassed a wide range of approaches. Impressionism, once ridiculed, became an established style with a strong market, while other artists continued painting in the Pre-Raphaelite, symbolist and social-realist styles. In this section, visitors can appreciate John Dickson Innes (1887–1914) and his desire to make more radical experiments in shape and color in his landscapes.

A new Romanticism
Many Neoromantic artists were employed as official war artists on the home front during World War II. In their landscape paintings, often containing old buildings and cities in ruins, they created images that reflected the complex emotions that characterized the war period, such as terror, euphoria, nostalgia, and escapism.

New landscapes, old landscapes
Neo-romanticism was succeeded by a revival of realist art in the early 1950s. In 1960, however, British artists had begun to respond to American art and culture. British conceptual art of the 1960s and 1970s was also interested in the “sense of place.” Richard Long (1945) is one of the artists featured in this section, creating a hybrid and poetic landscape art from the association maps, texts and photographs.

Among the artists of the exhibit are the following:

Eighteenth century: Richard Wilson | George Stubbs | Thomas Gainsborough | Joseph Wright | Philip James de Loutherbourg | Francis Towne | John Mallord William Turner | Thomas Girtin.

Nineteenth century: Joseph Mallord William Turner | John Constable | John Sell Cotmann | Richard Parkes Bonington | John Martin | Samuel Palmer | Edwin Landseer | William Dyce | David Roberts | John Everett Millais | William Holman Hunt | John Brett | James Abbott McNeill Whistler | John Singer Sargent.

Twentieth century: Walter Sickert | Stanley Spencer | Augustus John | Paul Nash | David Bomberg | CRW Nevinson | Ben Nicholson | Christopher Wood | Graham Sutherland | John Piper | Edward Burra | Eric Ravilious | LS Lowry | Peter Lanyon | Frank Auerbach | David Inshaw.