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Exhibition From Gainsborough to Turner.
The Golden Age of English Portraiture and Landscape
in the Collections of the Louvre

from October 23, 2014 to January 26, 2015

The golden age of British painting is commonly considered to be the Georgian era—a period spanning from the 1720s to the beginning of Queen Victoria's reign in the mid-19th century. The collections of paintings, prints, and drawings at the Musée du Louvre provide insight into this exceptional time in British art history. English artists demonstrated their excellence in two genres that were especially appreciated: portraits and landscapes.

The exhibition presents several emblematic artworks by the main representatives of great English portraiture: Sir Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, Alan Ramsay, and George Romney, among others, as well as a fine set of portraits from the Romantic period attributed to Thomas Lawrence and Henry Raeburn. Another key aspect of British portraiture lies in the invention of the informal group portrait known as a "conversation piece". Typical examples of this type of portraiture can also be found at the Louvre with artworks by Philip Mercier, Arthur Devis, and Johann Zoffany. The Louvre boasts a rich collection of landscape paintings with several masterpieces by Joseph Wright of Derby, Richard Parkes Bonington, John Linnell, Edward Lear, and Clarkson Stanfield. It also houses a beautiful series of paintings by John Constable and one of the finest unfinished landscapes by Turner, bordering on abstraction.

In the mid-18th century, English artists renewed with watercolor and brought it to new heights with the production of stunning landscapes inspired by their travels throughout Great Britain and the rest of Europe. They became a model for European artists, and particularly those of the Romantic generation. The Louvre collections are home to precious drawings by the great masters of the genre: Alexander and John Robert Cozens, Francis Towne, David Cox, Richard Parkes Bonington, and John Constable, not to mention J.M.W. Turner.

Organized by:

Guillaume Faroult, curator of the Department of Paintings at the Musée du Louvre, Hélène Moulin, Director of the Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'Archéologie de Valence, and Guillaume Ambroise, Director of the Musée des Beaux-arts de Quimper.

Practical information

From June 29 to September 28, 2014

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Valence