Visitors to The Oklahoma City Museum of Art have the opportunity to experience Turner to Cézanne: Masterpieces from the Davies Collection, National Museum Wales, on exhibit through September 20.
The exhibition featires a selection of 47 paintings-many of which have been rarely exhibited outside of Wales-and 11 important works on paper reveal the cross-currents between artists and movements that propelled nineteenth-century painting from the romantic naturalism of J.M.W. Turner to the post-impressionism of Paul Cézanne.
Turner to Cézanne begins with late works by the British master J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851), including Morning after the Wreck (ca. 1840) and The Storm (ca. 1840-45). Turner's work had a tremendous impact on the impressionists, particularly Claude Monet (1840-1926). Turner’s influence is readily apparent in Charing Cross Bridge (1902), one of the three canvases by Monet in the exhibition.
In France, the work of the Barbizon school paralleled Turner's romantic naturalism. Artists such as Camille Corot (1796-1875) and Jean-François Millet (1814-1875) left their studios to paint, or outdoors. The three paintings on view by Corot include Distant View of Corbeil (ca. 1870), which depicts an idyllic landscape with a harmonized palette and feathery brushstrokes. Millet’s unfinished Winter: The Faggot Gatherers (1868-75), a haunting image of peasants from Normandy, underscores the many radical changes-including a new appreciation of the creative act itself and an elevation of scenes of modern life from
secondary to primary importance-that propelled French art toward impressionism and post-impressionism.
Following the precursors of Turner and the Barbizon school, the exhibition presents an important early work by Edouard Manet (1832-1883) Effect of Snow at Petit-Montrouge (1870). Often described as Manet's first impressionist work, the painting conveys the unflinching scene of destruction in the suburbs of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71). In addition to the strikingly modern work by Manet and Monet, including the latter’s renowned Waterlilies (1906), the exhibition features Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s masterpiece La Parisienne (1874), which demonstrates impressionism’s commitment to depicting modern life.
The exhibition culminates with several post-impressionist works, including paintings by Cézanne and Vincent van Gogh. Van Gogh’s magnificent Rain-Auvers (1890), which dates to the last week of the artist’s life, conveys a sense of solitude through its open, panoramic composition.
Turner to Cézanne is accompanied by an exhibition catalogue available in the Museum Store. The Oklahoma City Museum of Art is located in the heart of downtown Oklahoma City’s Arts District, at 415 Couch Drive. Museum hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The Museum is closed on Monday and major holidays. For more info. call 236-3100 or visit www.okcmoa.com.