National Gallery of Art, Washington °

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English artist John Constable (1776 - 1837) regarded the six foot-long landscapes that he began to paint in 1818 - 1819 as his most serious and significant achievements. This exhibition will focus on these great paintings and the full-size oil sketches for them. To create such large-scale works, Constable found he needed an intermediate stage between his small oil studies and the final painting, and he chose to work out the diverse elements of the large compositions on a full-size canvas. The oil sketches he made in preparation for the final paintings are remarkable works in their own right. Some of Constable's greatest and most famous paintings are in the exhibition, including The Hay Wain (1820 - 1821), View on the Stour near Dedham (1822), The Leaping Horse (1825), and Hadleigh Castle (1829). The catalyst for the exhibition was the recent cleaning of the oil sketch for the first six-foot painting The White Horse, which Constable exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1819. The cleaning of this sketch, which is in the National Gallery's collection, has revealed nothing less than a lost masterpiece under layers of disfiguring 19th-century repaint. A fully illustrated scholarly catalogue, discussing the nature and special character of these paintings, their place in the modern landscape tradition, and the context of Constable's art, will accompany the exhibition.

Organization: Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, the Tate Britain, London, and the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California.


Constable's Great Landscapes: The Six-Foot Paintings
John Constable
Organisation: National Gallery, Washington; Tate Britain, London; Huntington Library - Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, San Marino / CAL