Tea and lectures will take place in the dining room at Latitude 41° Restaurant at the Museum. A traditional British afternoon tea will be served at 3:30 p.m. The talks begin at 4 p.m. Participants are encouraged to view the show beforehand (same-day admission is included for non-Museum members).
January 14: Turner’s Inhabited Landscapes
Alexis Goodin, curatorial research associate at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA, will explore the significance of the human figure in Turner’s landscapes. More than markers of scale, Turner’s figures contribute to compelling narratives that reveal social, cultural, and political concerns of Turner’s day. Goodin will discuss works in the exhibition as well as paintings in the Clark collection that reveal how Turner’s figures enrich and complicate his landscape paintings. Goodin recently curated the exhibition Turner and Constable: The Inhabited Landscape (2018-2019) and authored the accompanying booklet, Turner and Constable at the Clark (2018).
January 21: Turner and Switzerland
Constance McPhee, curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will explore Turner’s repeated visits to Switzerland, focusing on four seminal trips that he made to the area around Lucerne in the 1840s. Switzerland’s terrain and history were central to Turner’s artistic imagination, and its mountains and lakes offered him life-long inspiration. Using The Metropolitan Museum’s The Lake of Zug, 1843 as a touchstone, this talk will consider how the artist’s travel sketches offer fascinating windows into his process and supported masterful finished watercolors now regarded as highpoints of British art.
January 28: Why Turner?
Artist Ellen Harvey, who contributed to Mystic Seaport Museum’s recently published book Conversations with Turner, in connection with the current exhibition, will be discussing her own work, its relationship to J.M.W. Turner, and why she considers Turner’s work to be relevant to many issues we face today. Harvey is a British-born artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York. She is a 2016 recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in the Visual Arts and a graduate of the Whitney Independent Study Program. Her new project, Ellen Harvey and J.M.W. Turner: The Disappointed Tourist, will be opening at Turner Contemporary in the UK in the summer of 2020.
February 4: Turner and Industry
Glenn Adamson, senior scholar at the Yale Center for British Art, is a historian and curator specializing in craft and design. He will offer thoughts on Turner’s work in the context of the industrial revolution. Turner lived during one of the greatest periods of transformation in history, one with certain parallels to our own. His paintings sometimes captured the awe-inspiring power but also the trauma of these shifts.
February 11: From Mystic to New York: A Close Look at the Frick Turners with Susan Grace Galassi
After examining J.M.W. Turner’s watercolors of the 1820s on view in the Mystic Seaport Museum exhibition, Galassi will shift the subject to New York City to look in depth at two of the artist’s masterpieces in oil from the mid-1820s, both centerpieces of The Frick Collection’s West Gallery. These luminous harbors of Dieppe and Cologne reveal Turner’s preoccupation with Continental subjects following Napoleon’s defeat and the lifting of travel bans. They also showcase the artist’s technical experimentation in which he brought qualities of the watercolor medium into oil paint, arousing the ire of critics and leading to a turning point in his art. Susan Grace Galassi is curator emerita of The Frick Collection. In 2017, she was co-curator with Ian Warrell and Joanna Sheers Seidenstein of Turner’s Modern and Ancient Ports: Passages Through Time.