28 January – 13 May 2012 – Turner Contemporary – Margate
Ninety-five works by Britain’s best-loved painter, JMW Turner, many from Tate’s collection, go on show in the major exhibition Turner and the Elements at Turner Contemporary in Margate. The exhibition, including a number of works featuring Margate and the north Kent coast, illustrates how his painting technique and the influence of the latest scientific and technological developments of his time, revolutionised landscape painting. In these images of Margate and the Kentish coast, Turner’s fascination with the elements, air and water, is apparent. The exhibition focuses on the theme of the elements in the artist’s work and is divided into five sections: Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Fusion.
JMW Turner was a frequent visitor to Margate spending time there as a child and again later in his life. In the 1820s and 1830s Turner lodged with Sophia Booth in a house that was located on the same site as Turner Contemporary. He is said to have remarked to John Ruskin that “the skies over Thanet are the loveliest in all Europe”.
“The artist delights to go back to the first chaos of the world, or to that state of things when the waters were separated from the dry land, and light from darkness, but as yet no living thing nor tree bearing fruit was seen upon the face of the earth”.
Art critic William Hazlitt commenting on Turner’s work, 1816
Works on display include Snow Storm – Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth exhibited 1842 and The New Moon; or ‘I’ve lost My Boat, You shan’t have Your Hoop’ exhibited 1840. Turner’s frequent visits to Margate and the Kent coast are vividly portrayed, with particular works chosen especially for the exhibition’s time at Turner Contemporary.