On Stage | Hogarth’s Progress, A Double Bill

Posted in lectures (to attend), today in light of the 18th century by Editor on August 28, 2018

Coming to the Rose Theatre, Kingston:

Hogarth’s Progress: The Art of Success and The Taste of the Town
A Double Bill by Nick Dear, Directed by Anthony Banks
Rose Theatre, Kingston, London, 13 September — 21 October 2018

Written by BAFTA Award-winning playwright Nick Dear and directed by Anthony Banks, Hogarth’s Progress is a highly imaginative and entertaining double bill of comedies. Following one of Britain’s most irreverent and celebrated artists on two monumental pub crawls, the plays explore the extraordinary lives of William Hogarth and his wife Jane at a time when culture escaped from the grasp of the powerful into the hands of the many.

The Olivier Award-nominated comedy The Art of Success, in its first major revival, compresses the newlywed William’s rise to fame into a dizzying and hilarious night out through 18th-century London’s high society and debauched underworld.

A world premiere, The Taste of the Town catches up with the Hogarths in Chiswick some 30 years later. Now hugely successful, William and Jane are still at odds with the world and with each other. Facing public ridicule for what he considers his finest painting, William sets out to confront his fiercest critic, but there’s always time for one more pint on the way.

Bryan Dick (The Art of Success) and Keith Allen (The Taste of the Town) star as the younger and older William Hogarth. . .  They are joined on stage by Ruby Bentall, Emma Cunniffe, Ben Deery, Jack Derges, Ian Hallard, Susannah Harker, Jasmine Jones, Sylvestra Le Touzel and Mark Umbers. Each play can be seen as a single performance or enjoyed together, either over different days or as a thrilling all-day theatrical experience.


Hogarth’s World
Wednesday, 26 September, post-show
A fascinating exploration of the uneasy relationship between a new generation of creative power players and the established powers of parliament and the crown. Dr Karen Lipsedge’s teaching focuses on 18th-century literature and culture. Professor Norma Clarke is a literary historian and author, who has recently chronicled of the 18th-century novelist, poet and playwright Oliver Goldsmith and his contemporaries.

Hogarth’s Art
Sunday, 30 September, post-show
An enlightening conversation about William’s subjects, techniques and styles, and how his creative legacy influences our world today. Chaired by Kingston School of Art’s Geoff Grandfield.

Hogarth’s Women
Saturday, 6 October, post-show
Join us for a discussion about the relationship between Jane and William Hogarth, the status of women in 18th-century London, and the emergence of the Blue Stocking Society. Dr Jane Jordan’s research is on literature and history, especially the legal status of British women and of prostitution. Dr Karen Lipsedge’s research focuses on 18th-century domestic spaces and gender roles and their representation in the British novel.

Exhibition | Prints of Darkness: Goya and Hogarth

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on July 21, 2018

Left: Francisco José  de Goya y Lucientes, Bobalicón (Silly Idiot), detail, 1864 (Manchester Art Gallery). Right: William Hogarth, The Enraged Musician, detail, 1741 (The Whitworth, The University of Manchester).

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Now on view at The Whitworth:

Prints of Darkness: Goya and Hogarth in a Time of European Turmoil
The Whitworth, The University of Manchester, 7 July 2018 — August 2019

Curated by Gillian Forrester

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746–1828) and William Hogarth (1697–1764) were the most remarkable artists of their times. Both were extremely successful portrait and history painters, but arguably their most compelling works were the uncommissioned prints they made with dazzling technical virtuosity, using line-engraving (Hogarth) and a combination of etching and aquatint (Goya). Whilst the artists were not working contemporaneously—Hogarth was fifty years old when Goya was born and died twenty years later—and never met, Goya was almost certainly familiar with Hogarth’s prints, and there are strong affinities between their works. Hogarth and Goya were both outsiders who cast their candid gazes on their dysfunctional societies. Poverty, homelessness, warfare, violence, cruelty, sexual abuse and human trafficking, social inequity, political corruption, racism, superstition, hypocrisy, rampant materialism, nationalism, mental illness, and alcoholism: all were subjected to their forensic scrutiny and no topic was off-limits. Simultaneously attractive and repellent, these challenging prints provoke a spectrum of responses, including shock, discomfort, laughter, and empathy, raising profound questions about the ethics of representation and viewing. The scenarios that they unflinchingly depicted are troublingly familiar to the contemporary viewer, eliciting an embarrassed contemplation of their own society, and themselves.

This exhibition features 100 prints by Goya and Hogarth, selected from the stellar collections at the Whitworth and Manchester Art Gallery. Although both artists are celebrated and represented in museum collections throughout the world, this is the first exhibition to consider Hogarth and Goya in tandem, providing an opportunity to compare their extraordinary graphic work. The exhibition will feature 50 prints by Hogarth, all drawn from the Whitworth’s collection. Bookended by the South Sea Bubble and his final print, the Bathos, which he published the year he died, the selection includes the serial works—The Rake’s Progress, Marriage a-la Mode, the Times of the Day, and the Four Stages of Cruelty—as well as single prints, including his emblems of British national identity, O The Roast Beef of Old England (Calais Gate) and the Enraged Musician. A fine impression of the engraving of Hogarth’s self-portrait with his pug, Trump, has been lent by Andrew Edmunds. Drinking culture was a pervasive theme in Hogarth’s work, and Gin Lane, Beer Street, and A Midnight Modern Conversation will be included, accompanied by a Hogarth-themed punchbowl made in Liverpool in 1748. The exhibition will feature 50 prints by Goya, including impressions from all the four series, as well as two etchings made early in his career in 1778, Margaret of Austria and Moenippus Menipo Filosofo.

The exhibition is timely, as it takes place during the troubled run-up to Britain’s exit from the European Union, scheduled for 29 March 2019, and the accompanying fractious debates currently taking place in Europe and elsewhere regarding national identity. Hogarth and Goya both lived through extended periods of warfare with France, and Hogarth claimed to hate the French, although he was a frequent visitor to Paris and hired French engravers for his print series Marriage a-la Mode. Angry, troubled, and ambivalent, Hogarth seems to embody the tortured mind-set of Britain on the eve of Brexit.

The exhibition is organized by Gillian Forrester, Senior Curator of Historic Fine Art at the Whitworth.

Exhibition | Travesty in the 18th Century: William Hogarth

Posted in exhibitions by internjmb on December 14, 2017

William Hogarth, The Fiver Orders of Periwigs, detail, 1761
(Honolulu Museum of Art, Gift of Andrew Adams Collection)

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Now on view at the Honolulu Museum of Art 

Travesty in the 18th Century: William Hogarth’s Modern Moral Subjects
Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, 14 September 2017 — 11 March 2018 

The Honolulu Museum of Art’s Works on Paper Gallery comes alive with the work of the hilarious William Hogarth (1697–1764). One of the eighteenth century’s most influential artists, Hogarth is best known for his complex, satirical, and uncannily prescient images, through which he exposed humanity’s foibles by lampooning the conventions, lifestyles, and scandals of contemporary England. Inspired by the popular and plot-driven literary forms of the day—the comic opera, the bourgeois tragedy, and the serialized novel—Hogarth approached his subjects in the spirit (as he put it) of a “dramatic writer,” inventing a new genre called the “modern moral subject,” in which humor and tragedy merged with the purpose of teaching a lesson.

The exhibition focuses on a selection of prints from the museum’s collection, including The Rake’s Progress, a serialized group of eight images that mock the pitfalls of decadence by tracing the fortunes of the fictitious gambler Tom Rakewell; Beer Street and Gin Lane, which warn against the consequences of alcoholism by mordantly blaming gin for the ruin of a working-class neighborhood; and The Five Orders of Periwigs, which chart the elaborate and often absurd semiotics of modish men’s hairstyles.

New Book | William Hogarth: A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings

Posted in books by Editor on December 11, 2016

From Yale UP:

Elizabeth Einberg, William Hogarth: A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings (London: The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2016), 432 pages, ISBN: 978 030  0221749, £95 / $150.

9780300221749William Hogarth (1697–1764) was among the first British-born artists to rise to international recognition and acclaim and to this day he is considered one of the country’s most celebrated and innovative masters. His output encompassed engravings, paintings, prints, and editorial cartoons that presaged western sequential art.

This comprehensive catalogue of his paintings brings together over twenty years of scholarly research and expertise on the artist and serves to highlight the remarkable diversity of his accomplishments in this medium. Portraits, history paintings, theater pictures, and genre pieces are lavishly reproduced alongside detailed entries on each painting, including much previously unpublished material relating to his oeuvre. This deeply informed publication affirms Hogarth’s legacy and testifies to the artist’s enduring reputation.

Elizabeth Einberg is a senior research fellow at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and former curator at Tate Britain.















UK Export Bar Placed on Hogarth’s ‘The Christening’

Posted in Art Market, resources by Editor on November 19, 2016


William Hogarth, The Christening, ca. 1728.

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Press release (16 November 2016) from Gov.UK’s Department for Culture, Media & Sport:

Culture Minister Matt Hancock has placed a temporary export bar on a satirical painting by William Hogarth to provide an opportunity to keep it in the country. The Christening by William Hogarth is at risk of being exported from the UK unless a buyer can be found to match the asking price of £1,223,100.

William Hogarth is considered to be one of the most important figures in eighteenth-century British art and culture. He was known for his satirical artwork, and The Christening was his first painted comical scene. It shows a christening taking place in a wealthy but disorderly home. From the little girl about to knock over the christening bowl, to the dog about to rip apart the hat on the ground, the painting is a satirical scene of contemporary life in the eighteenth century. The painting marks Hogarth’s beginning as a satirical artist and demonstrates his development into comical artwork.

Culture Minister Matt Hancock said: “Hogarth is known as one of our greatest ever satirists, and this is a significant early example of his work. The painting provides a valuable insight into eighteenth-century life. Satire is an important part of our cultural heritage, and as a fan of Hogarth’s work I hope it can remain in the UK for the public to enjoy.”

The decision to defer the export licence follows a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA), administered by The Arts Council. The RCEWA made its recommendation on the grounds of its outstanding significance for the study of William Hogarth, as well as for the study of the cultural, literary, and historical life of the eighteenth century.

RCEWA member Lowell Libson said: “Hogarth’s importance in imbuing art and artists with a sense of a national character at a time when England was consolidating its international position as the dominant economic and political power cannot be underestimated. This important painting demonstrates Hogarth’s concern with the effects that this new affluence had on all sectors of society. Hogarth himself noted that “my picture was my stage,” and The Christening, a small, beautifully executed painting, is a deceptively charming and significant early precursor of the great cycles of modern moral paintings and their related engravings. Its retention in this country would considerably add to the story we can tell of a painter who helped define our national identity.”

The decision on the export licence application for the painting will be deferred until February 15, 2017. This may be extended until May 15, 2017, if a serious intention to raise funds to purchase it is made at the recommended price of £1,223,100. Offers from public bodies for less than the recommended price through the private treaty sale arrangements, where appropriate, may also be considered by Matt Hancock. Such purchases frequently offer substantial financial benefit to a public institution wishing to acquire the item.


New Book | Hogarth’s Legacy

Posted in books by InternRW on July 20, 2016

Distributed by Yale UP:

Cynthia Roman, ed., Hogarth’s Legacy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016), 272 pages, ISBN: 978-0300215618, $80.

Hogarth's LegacyThe legacy of graphic artist William Hogarth (1697–1764) remains so emphatic that even his last name has evolved into a common vernacular term referring to his characteristically scathing form of satire. Featuring rarely seen images and written contributions from leading scholars, this book showcases a collection of the artist’s works gathered from the Lewis Walpole Library at Yale University and other repositories. It attests to the idiosyncratic nature of his style and its international influence, which continues to incite aesthetic and moral debate among critics. The eight essays by eminent Hogarth experts help to further contextualize the artist’s unique narrative strategies, embedding the work within German philosophical debates and the moral confusion of the Victorian period and emphasizing the social and political dimensions that are part and parcel of its profound impact. Endlessly parodied and emulated, Hogarth’s distinctive satire persists in its influence throughout the centuries and this publication provides the necessary lens through which to view it.

Cynthia Roman is curator of prints, drawings, and paintings at the Lewis Walpole Library.





Exhibition | William Hogarth: A Harlot’s Progress and Other Stories

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on May 5, 2016


William Hogarth, A Harlot’s Progress, Plate 6, 1732, 364 × 440 mm
(Copenhagen: SMK – The National Gallery of Denmark)

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Press release (22 February 2016) from the National Gallery of Denmark:

William Hogarth: A Harlot’s Progress and Other Stories
William Hogarth: En skøges liv og andre historier

Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, 14 April — 7 August 2016

Curated by Vibeke Vibolt Knudsen

A young country girl arrives in London in search of work. Instead she ends up a prostitute, and her life spirals steadily downwards, bringing stints in prison and venereal disease. With the exhibition William Hogarth: A Harlot’s Progress and Other Stories, the SMK turns back time to visit eighteenth-century city life in London. The exhibition presents work by the British artist and satirist William Hogarth (1697–1764), who invented a new kind of narrative picture series that served up satirical and moral points with acerbic wit. His style of social critique was unique for the time, focusing on many highly topical subjects: Prostitution, poverty, violence, drunkenness, deceit, self-aggrandisement and desire.

SMK_Hogarth_kalender_260x780px_v01Three series hold a particularly prominent position in Hogarth’s oeuvre: A Harlot’s Progress (1732), A Rake’s Progress (1735), and Marriage à-la-mode (1745). Each series describes a main protagonist who strives to climb the rungs of the class ladder, but loses their way in debauchery, heading directly for self-destruction and death.

In his autobiographical notes Hogarth states that his pictures are scenes from a play and his subjects are actors strutting soundlessly on the stage. His stories became highly successful, attracting a large audience that included the lower echelons of society as well as the elite. Hogarth insisted that a picture must capture the viewer’s attention by entertaining and pleasing the eye, thereby allowing the serious aspects of its subject to gradually sink in as the narrative progresses towards its tragic climax.

Hogarth’s art is closely linked to London and city life. Around the year 1700 the city had swelled to a population of 600,000, making it the largest city in Europe. He made daily records of the chaotic urban crowds, of all the many and varied forms of life unfolding in the city’s streets and houses; he had a particularly keen eye for the contrasts between different social strata and how they met and clashed.

William Hogarth: A Harlot’s Progress and Other Stories is an exhibition of works from The Royal Collection of Graphic Arts, which is one of the oldest collections of prints and drawings in the world. Housing more than 240,000 works, the collection has roots that date back to the sixteenth century. In 1843 the collection was opened to the public, and in 1896 it was relocated to the new National Gallery of Denmark alongside The Royal Collection of Paintings and The Royal Cast Collection.

The catalogue is available from Arnold Busck:

Vibeke Vibolt Knudsen, William Hogarth: En skøges liv og andre historier (Odder: Narayana Press, 2016), 96 pages, ISBN 978-8792023971, 128KR.


Exhibition | James Gillray’s Hogarthian Progresses

Posted in exhibitions, graduate students, lectures (to attend) by Caitlin Smits on March 17, 2016

From The Lewis Walpole Library:

James Gillray’s Hogarthian Progresses
The Lewis Walpole Library, Farmington, CT, 6 April — 16 September 2016

Curated by Cynthia Roman


James Gillray, The life of William-Cobbett, written by himself. : Now you lying varlets you shall see how a plain tale will put you down! / Js. Gillray inv. & fec. Published in London, 29 September 1809 (Lewis Walpole Library).

Sequential narration in satiric prints is most famously associated with the ‘modern moral subjects’ of William Hogarth (1697–1764): Harlot’s Progress (1732), A Rake’s Progress (1735), Marriage A-la-Mode (1745), and Industry and Idleness (1747) among others. Less well-known is the broad spectrum of legacy ‘progresses’ produced by subsequent generations drawing both on Hogarth’s narrative strategies and his iconic motifs. James Gillray (1756–1815), celebrated for his innovative single-plate satires, was also among the most accomplished printmakers to adopt Hogarthian sequential narration even as he transformed it according to his unique vision. This exhibition presents a number of Gillray’s Hogarthian progresses alongside some selected prints by Hogarth himself.


Study Day 
James Gillray’s Experimental Printmaking
Organized by Esther Chadwick, History of Art, Yale University and Cynthia Roman, The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University, 10 June 2016

Graduate Student Seminar
Collecting the Graphic Work of William Hogarth 
Sheila O’Connell, Former Curator of Prints, British Museum, 14 June 2016

Graduate Student Seminar
Connoisseurship: Graphic Satire from William Hogarth to James Gillray
Andrew Edmunds, Collector and Dealer, 15 June 2016

Master Class for Graduate Students
A Contest of Two Genres: Graphic Satire and British History Painting in the Long Eighteenth Century
Mark Salber Phillips, Professor of History at Carleton University, Ottawa, and Cynthia Roman, Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Paintings at the Lewis Walpole Library, 22–26 August 2016

Master Class for Graduate Students
The Comic Image 1800–1850: Narrative and Caricature
Brian Maidment, Professor of the History of Print, Liverpool John Moores University
Cynthia Roman, Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Paintings at the Lewis Walpole Library, 14—16 September 2016

Exhibition | Vices of Life: The Prints of William Hogarth

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on June 17, 2015


William Hogarth, After (detail), 1736, etching and engraving, 41 x 33 cm
(Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main)

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Press release for the exhibition now on view at the Städel Museum:

Vices of Life: The Prints of William Hogarth
Laster des Lebens: Druckgrafik von William Hogarth
Frankfurt’s Städel Museum, Frankfurt, 10 June — 6 September 2015
Schloss Neuhardenberg, Brandenburg, TBA

Curated by Annett Gerlach

From 10 June to 6 September 2015—in its bicentennial year ‘200 Years Städel’—Frankfurt’s Städel Museum will be presenting prints by the English painter, engraver and etcher William Hogarth (1697‒1764). Altogether seventy works including the famous printmaking series A Harlot’s Progress (1732), A Rake’s Progress (1735) and Marriage à la Mode (1745) will be on view in the exhibition hall of the Department of Prints and Drawings. These visual novels from the Städel holdings take the fashions, vices and downsides of modern life in the London metropolis as their themes. Hogarth conceived of his artworks as printed theatre of his times and with them he laid the cornerstone for socio-critical caricature in England. The prints owe their special quality to the keen powers of perception and caustic humour of an artist who contributed so greatly to shaping the image of his era that it is still referred to as ‘Hogarth’s England’ today. Executed during Johann Friedrich Städel’s lifetime, the engravings are among the Städel’s oldest holdings and mirror the critical spirit inherent to this institution since its founding.

7ae46414-a95d-4811-9541-1211f58c01d0William Hogarth was born in London in 1697. In keeping with an early eighteenth-century fashion, his father Richard opened a coffee house at which only Latin was spoken. The business failed, and Richard Hogarth had to serve five years in London’s notorious Fleet Prison for failure to pay his debts. As was usual at the time, his wife and children had to accompany him. In 1713, after his father’s release, William Hogarth began an apprenticeship as a silver engraver where he also learned the rudiments of the complex techniques of intaglio printing—engraving and etching. Following his seven-year training, he went into business for himself as an engraver and attended the privately run St Martin’s Lane Academy, an art school in London, to acquire the art of painting. In 1724 he also became a member of the academy of royal court painter James Thornhill (1675‒1734), whose daughter Jane he married in 1729. It was not with his paintings, however, that Hogarth achieved a breakthrough with the public, but with the prints made after his works on canvas. With the series A Harlot’s Progress, produced in the early 1730s, he founded a new genre he later dubbed modern moral subjects. Hogarth conceived of these subjects as contemporary, moral-didactic history scenes. He thus took a stand against the hierarchization of the visual arts, a firmly entrenched principle of academy doctrine which granted classical history painting pride of place. With his printmaking works, he succeeded in creating a new, up-to-date genre based on the keen observation of reality. In 1755 Hogarth was elected to the Royal Society of Arts, which he quit again just two years later on account of artistic and personal differences. His appointment as royal court painter followed in 1757, but never led to any commissions. The final years of the artist’s life were overshadowed by bitter disputes between himself and his critics. A stroke in 1763 left Hogarth severely handicapped and he died the following year in his home in Leicester Fields, a district of London.

The presentation in the exhibition gallery of the Department of Prints and Drawings focuses primarily on those of William Hogarth’s printmaking series that earned him international fame: A Harlot’s Progress, A Rake’s Progress und Marriage à la Mode. There is a very simple reason for the fact that his works on paper secured him a place in art history: prints can be circulated far better than paintings. It was by these means that the artist reached the enlightened and educated public of his day in large numbers. Already the first edition of A Harlot’s Progress (1732) comprised 1,240 sold copies. In six episodes, this series describes the rise and fall of a young woman who has come from the country to the city to find work. To earn a living she ends up as a prostitute and lands in prison as a result. The final scene shows the wretched funeral of the protagonist, whose life has already come to an end at the age of twenty-three. Hogarth had numerous real and literary models to look to for his creation of this figure. Inspired by his great interest in the social characterization of his time, he directed his critical, ironical gaze to all strata of society, from the highest nobility to the most abject circumstances. The sick and needy of all generations formed the downside of the economic boom enjoyed by the colonial and commercial metropolis and its many profiteers.

In his second series, A Rake’s Progress (1735), consisting of eight prints, Hogarth tells the story of the social decline of Tom Rakewell, who brainlessly squanders his inheritance and is thrown first into debtors’ prison and then the madhouse. Rakewell’s incarceration on grounds of indebtedness is reminiscent of the artist’s own biography. Entirely unlike his father, however, William Hogarth was an excellent businessman and very clever at taking advantage of the London press—which was flourishing in his day—and its public impact for his own purposes. In newspapers such as the London Daily Post, the General Advertiser or the London Journal he published announcements of his prints and advertised them for subscription.

Hogarth borrowed the title of his third major series, published in 1745, from a comedy by John Dryden (1631‒1700). Marriage à la Mode is about an espousal arranged by the two spouses’ fathers. Neither the bride nor the groom is the least bit interested in the other, both amuse themselves on the side, and the situation comes to a dramatic conclusion. Hogarth’s protagonists feign innocence and practise deception, abandon themselves to their passions and founder on their false ideals. Looking to true stories for orientation and integrating well-known persons and recognizable sites, he warned his public of the dangers of modern life—dangers still very real today. In 1751, with his popular prints Beer Street and Gin Lane, he supported a public campaign against the excessive consumption of gin. The former scene presents the enjoyment of beer as healthy and beneficial in contrast to the destructive effects of gin portrayed in the latter.

From mid century onward, in addition to socio-critical themes Hogarth also devoted himself to matters of national and political relevance, which represent a further focus of the exhibition. In several works, the artist addressed the relationship between France and England, which were at war. The Gate of Calais (1748) was his response to his arrest on suspicion of espionage during one of his trips to France. In 1756, in The Invasion, he again caricatured the French as grotesque, haggard figures who are after the tasty beer and luscious roast beef of the English. Some fifteen years later, in the print The Times, Plate 1 (1762), Hogarth made an urgent appeal for the cessation of the Seven Years’ War.

In 1753, Hogarth published his own art-theoretical deliberations in the book The Analysis of Beauty. In it he concerned himself with the foundations of visual-artistic production and particularly the matter of how to achieve beauty and grace. Hogarth considered the study of nature to be the key to beauty. He called upon his readers to perceive the objects of nature with their own eyes and judge them according to rational criteria. The German writer Christlob Mylius (1722–1754) was in London when Hogarth’s Analysis came out, and he translated it into German the very next year. Johann Friedrich Städel had a copy of this translation in his library, and it will be on display in the show.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Städel Museum is publishing a catalogue by Annett Gerlach with approximately 50 pages, 10€. Following its presentation at the Städel Museum, the show will be on view at Neuhardenberg Castle. The exhibition is being sponsored by the Hessische Kulturstiftung.


Installation view of the exhibition Vices of Life: The Prints of William Hogarth at Frankfurt’s Städel Museum (June 2015)


Display | William Hogarth, 1697–1764

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on November 26, 2014

Now on view at Tate Britain:

William Hogarth, 1697–1764
Tate Britain, London, 27 October 2014 — 26 April 2015
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Summer 2015

William Hogarth, The Painter and his Pug, 1745 (London: Tate, purchased 1824).

William Hogarth, The Painter and his Pug, 1745 (London: Tate, purchased 1824).

This display marks the 250th anniversary of the death of Hogarth. It includes almost all of his paintings in the Tate Collection, as well as prints, drawings and rarely seen items from the Tate Library and Archive.

The story of art in this country often begins with William Hogarth, who died in late October 1764. Satirist, printmaker, portraitist, history painter and art theorist, in the two hundred and fifty years since his death Hogarth has regularly been positioned as the founding father of British art. This persistent notion was reflected in the early years of Tate’s displays: for decades his was the earliest British work on show at Tate.

Hogarth first gained recognition painting scenes from the theatre. He went on to make his name with his darkly humorous ‘modern moral’ series depicting the declining fortunes of foolish or ignoble characters, and brought similar vivacity to the polite interiors of his ‘conversation piece’ portraits. In 1735 he founded an academy for artists and later wrote a treatise on the aesthetic theories he developed over the course of his career. Whether painting, printmaking or writing, he was concerned with forging and defending a distinctly British art.

In 1951 Tate mounted the first major exhibition of Hogarth’s work since 1814. Tate gained independence from the National Gallery in 1955 and started acquiring works in its own right, and further exhibitions and displays followed reflecting research into Hogarth’s life and art. From the early 1950s Tate also acquired work by earlier British artists, allowing Hogarth to be seen in the context of his predecessors: an innovative champion of British art, but by no means the first British artist.

Read more about Hogarth at the Tate

The online materials are useful, particularly Tim Batchelor’s account of the “Exhibitions and Displays” of Hogarth’s work at Tate (11 November 2014). CH

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