Past Events

Turner, Whistler, Monet - Aesthetics, Pollution and the City


  • 15 to 16 April 2005
  • 9:45 – 7:30 pm
  • Tate Britain

Turner, Whistler, Monet explores the interrelationshop between JMW Turner, James Abbott McNeill Whistler and Claude Monet, three of the greatest European artists of their age, each of who, changed the course of landscape painting in the nuneteenth century. This is the first time that this fascinating artistic triangle has been investigated. It sugests dramatically new readings of their works and sheds light on the fertile relationship between British and French art and the evolution of the Impressionist and Symbolist landscape. Whistler and Monet both acknowledged the profound influence of Turner, adopting and working their own variations on themes inagurated by their artistic predecessor. Turner's meterological and atmospheric effects gave rise to Whistler's Thames Nocturnes, and both Turner and Whistler inspired Monet's revolutionary Impression, Sunrise, which gave its name to the Impressionist movement. While Monet's series paintings have often been portrayed as unprecedented works of creative genius, they were anticipated by Turner's serial watercolours and Whistler's nocturne etchings.

Faced with a polluted industrial landscape, all three artists abandoned realism and sought out beauty in the modern urbal environment. Inspired by contemporary art theory and poetry, their works are rich in environmental, political and metaphysical overtones. The exhibition focuses on views of the River Thames, the Seine, and the city and lagoon of Venice, works which were controversial in their own day but are now seen as some of the most evocative images of nature ever produced.

This conference focuses on three key themes: artists' relationships and reputations; the aesthetics of pollution; and the representation of the modern, imperial city. The participants include the co-curators of the Turner, Whistler, Monet exhibition, Katharine Lochnan and John House.