Exhibition | Thomas Gainsborough: Modern Landscape

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on January 16, 2018

Thomas Gainsborough, Mr. and Mrs. Andrews, ca. 1750
(London: National Gallery)

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On view this spring at the Hamburger Kunsthalle:

Thomas Gainsborough: The Modern Landscape / Die moderne Landschaft
Hamburger Kunsthalle, 2 March — 27 May 2018

Curated by Katharina Hoins and Christoph Martin Vogtherr

Thomas Gainsborough (1727–1788) was a pioneering artist in the development towards ›modern‹ landscape painting of around 1800. He was mainly perceived as a painter of brilliant society portraits by his contemporaries, although he personally far preferred his landscapes. They reflect the dramatic technological and artistic developments of his time and the growing contradictions in British society. Landscape painting served Gainsborough as a laboratory to transform impressions into innovation. He experimented with colours and techniques, painted on glass and combined natural materials into landscape models. Establishing England as a centre of European landscape painting, he created images of timeless power. Iconic works like Mr and Mrs Andrews will feature in the exhibition. Gainsborough: Modern Landscape is the first exhibition by a German museum devoted to Gainsborough. For a German and an international public it promises the (re-)discovery of an exceptional painter.

M. Bills, B. Gockel, M. Hallett, K. Hoins, R. Jones, J. Karg, S. Pisot, and C. Vogtherr, Thomas Gainsborough: The Modern Landscape (Munich: Hirmer, 2018), 224 pages, ISBN: 978  37774  29977, $65.

Gainsborough himself favoured landscape painting, a field to which he made important contributions, over his well-known portraits. His works are fascinating for their painterly subtlety and technical variation. This volume brings together German and British traditions of viewing, interpreting, and studying Gainsborough. It looks at the connections to the Dutch landscapes, explains Gainsborough’s unusual and experimental techniques from an art technological point of view, and situates his landscapes in the context of the social tensions of early industrialisation.

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