Tuesday, June 03, 2014

You Are Hereby Warned! Get Thee to PEM.

This show, Turner & the Sea, at PEM is going to be a blockbuster.  That is your warning.  The longer you wait to see it, the more crowded it will be. . . so consider this your Public Service Announcement to get this on your personal schedule sooner rather than later.  This extra large banner in the Atrium should give you an idea of just how big PEM assumes this show will be for them.  There is no doubt in my mind.
As you move from one Gallery to the next, you will see these pseudo-tabloid style quotes from Turner's critics, contemporaries, and supporters.  Just a bit of "fun" that makes this exhibit PEM's own.

Some other facts about this exhibit:

It is being shown at the ONLY U.S. venue.  Miss it in Salem, and you will be traveling to another country if you want to see it.  PEM's curator of Maritime Art and History, Dan Finamore, happened to be in the right place at the right time when plans were afoot for this exhibit.  We, in Salem, and those of you who visit us in Salem, are the beneficiaries of that happenstance.

It is an exhibit of very large scale -- the last time an exhibit at PEM was this large was in 2008.  So plan your visit accordingly.

It is the first time a major show of Turner's work has focused on the sea.  This is a subject most beloved by residents of the Boston and North Shore area, and when you see it, you will know why.

It is filled with Turner's big personality, and enhanced by pieces from artists whose work he was inspired by, and those who were inspired by Turner.  This is a show both filled with Turner's art, but also with his style.

Here are some snaps of some of the pieces:

 This piece is one of the icons of this show, Fishermen at Sea, painted by Turner in 1796 when he was only 21 years old.

Provided by PEM:
Joseph Mallord William Turner, Fishermen at Sea (exhibited 1796) @ Tate, London 2014, Purchased 1972.

This tiny painting on the left is by John Constable.  The larger image on the right is described in the credited image below.

Provided by PEM:
John Constable, Rainstorm over the Sea (c. 1824 - 1825) Photo @ Royal Academy of Arts, London; Photographer John Hammond.
J. M. W. Turner, Staffa, Fingal's Cave (1831 - 1832).  Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
The other iconic piece from this show displays a completely different side of this prolific artist:

J. M. W. Turner, Venice: The Dogana and San Giorgio Maggiore (1834).  National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Widener Collection
Seeing painting images in a book, magazine or blog does not do anyone any real justice.  I am sharing these images with you only to entice you to go and experience them for yourself.  I really loved this last piece in the show, and Turner's quote "I did not paint to be understood, but I wished to show what such a scene was like."  I think he succeeded!

Daniel Finamore, PEM's Russell W. Knight Curator of Maritime Art and History, gave us our tour, and he was terrific.  
If you have the opportunity to go on one of Dan's tours of this excellent show, do not miss that.

I hope to see you here, or there.


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