Turner Three: Horizons
Lenbachhaus – Oct 28 oto Mar 10, 2024 Munich (Germany)
Joseph Mallord William Turner has long been hailed as a revolutionary who helped pave the way for modernism. Colour attained a hitherto unseen freedom in his pictures. He began exploring the possibilities of landscape painting early on, by studying the former masters of the genre as well as by observing and directly engaging with the world around him. Turner experimented with the conventions, integrating natural science, myth, history and contemporary issues. Gradually, he pushed the boundaries of traditional representation. Soon his works loosened the bond that tied them to nature as it appears to the eye to such a degree that, in their reduction to colour, light, and atmosphere, they called the picture’s representational function into question. His art amazed contemporary beholders and sparked controversy. Posterity has celebrated his prodigious modernity
Turner himself had a hand in weaving the enduring myth that surrounds him. Our exhibition investigates the question of how the artist trained and invented himself and honed his image. It examines the public strategies he pursued, for example, in exhibitions at the Royal Academy in London, but also in his experiments behind the scenes. Another focus of the project is on the response to Turner’s work from participants in contemporary debates over art as well as from later critics, to which he owes his renown as a progenitor of abstraction.
History of abstraction.
As part of the Lenbachhaus’s ongoing exploration of the history of abstraction, we have long wished to showcase Turner’s art in its full breadth. The cooperation with Tate Britain, London, which preserves his extensive estate, enables us to vividly illustrate Turner’s career and his pictorial innovations. We display around forty paintings and forty watercolours as well as sketches from all parts of his oeuvre.