Programme Jan – Jun 2017

THEME:  Landscape Art


Wednesday 11 January 2017, 10.30 – 12.30, Hampshire Record Office
Turner, Constable and the Status of Landscape Painting
Illustrated seminar by Barry Venning

Constable and Turner were opposites in almost every respect, from their appearance and social backgrounds to their political and religious views. They had, however, a common love of nature, a shared respect for Joshua Reynolds (the first President of the Royal Academy) and a passionate commitment to the practice of landscape painting. They were also in complete agreement on two fundamental points: the first was that the British could produce a national school of art that would rival those of Italy, France and Germany; the second was their fervent belief that landscape painting could provide an aesthetic and intellectual experience that was the equal of the so-called higher genres of historical painting and portraiture. These shared ambitions drove their careers, but they sought to achieve them in very different ways. Constable concentrated on intensive study of the places he knew and loved best, such as the agricultural landscapes of East Anglia, the environs of Salisbury Cathedral and the heathland scenery near his London Home. Turner, by contrast, painted a vast range of locations and subjects, his art fuelled by five decades of travelling and touring, and by an enormous fund of self-acquired historical, literary and scientific knowledge. As they developed their different approaches to landscape painting, they recorded and responded to the dramatic, social, political and economic changes that Britain and its scenery underwent during their careers. Their achievements influenced the development of landscape art, not just in Britain, but in continental Europe and North America.

Wednesday 25 January 2017, National Gallery Visit
French and Australian Impressionists

This visit will be an opportunity to revisit some well-known works and the little known works of Australian painters working in the impressionist style.  We will be meeting at the Sainsbury Wing before starting a guided tour of important French Impressionist works on show at the Gallery. This will be led by National Gallery Guide, Belinda Smith. After the lunch break, there will be a lecture by Linda Bolton on Australian impressionist painters, followed by a visit to the Australia’s Impressionists Exhibition.
(Maximum number 25)

Tuesday 7 February to Thursday 9 February 2017, Visit to Manchester

Due to the level of interest expressed when this tour was advertised for November 2016, it is being repeated for 2017. It will be a two night stay in Manchester. Travelling by train, this visit will give us an opportunity to explore the art galleries and architecture of this important Northern city.
(Full details will be circulated separately. You can also contact Daphne Winning for further details, her email and telephone no. are on p. 15 of the printed programme.)
(Minimum number: 20)

Wednesday 15 February 2017, 10.30 – 12.30, Winchester Discovery Centre
Post-Impressionist and Expressionist Landscapes, Illustrated seminar by Gerald Deslandes

The word ‘Post-Impressionism’ was invented by Roger Fry as part of the title of a major exhibition of French art in London before the First World War. As a portmanteau term, it refers to those late nineteenth century artists who moved way from Impressionism with its emphasis on the optical and the transient. For some this meant an attempt in Cézanne’s words to create ‘something solid like museum art’. For others it meant a rejection of ‘the here and now and the near at hand’ in favour of a use of line and colour as a vehicle for their emotions.
The first part of the lecture will focus on the way in which Cézanne and Van Gogh responded to the strong light and colours of the South of France. It will examine Van Gogh’s debt to Japanese art and Cézanne’s interest in the Baroque. It will describe how these contributed to Van Gogh’s use of colour and to Cézanne’s interest in three-dimensional form. It will then suggest comparisons with earlier painters of rural life such as Millet and Courbet and draw parallels with the contemporary work of Gauguin and the Pont- Aven School in Brittany.

The second part will look at the hot-house world of the 1890s. It will examine the expressionist landscapes of Nordic artists such as Munch and Strindberg and of Secession artists such as Klimt. It will show how these were affected by a fin de siècle sense of unease that critics have related to political and economic tensions and to post-Darwinian uncertainties. It will describe the rise of theosophy and the exploration of non-visible technologies such as the wireless, the telephone and the X-ray photograph.  It will then demonstrate how these combined with exoticism and aestheticism to create the ‘monstrous, the nervous, the artificial and the
mystical.’ The talk will end by looking at the influence of the decorative arts and of art nouveau in the progression towards abstract non-descriptive landscapes. At the same time it will describe the countervailing trend towards realism in the landscapes of rural artists such as the Glasgow Boys and the Newlyn School.

Wednesday 8 March 2017, 10.30-12.30, Winchester Discovery Centre
Russian 19th Century Landscape Painting; Love of the Land
Illustrated seminar by Jane Angelini

Work by Russian painters of the 19th century is still little known outside Russia, largely because it remained behind the Iron Curtain for most of the 20th century and the subject is only just beginning to gain interest, thanks to the opening up of Russia and hence its marvellously rich art galleries (Tretyakov in Moscow, and the Russian Museum in St Petersburg) and an increasing number of international exhibitions. This seminar will concentrate on one branch of the many artistic genres which flourished in Russia from the mid 19th century onwards, namely Landscape Painting.  The second half of the 19th century was a time of artistic rebellion in Russia (and across Europe) and a time when Russian painting came into its own. Whilst some painters turned to critical realism and historical genre painting, which mostly criticised Russian society; those who turned to landscape painted the uplifting, often simple scenery with notes of hope and poetry. They painted the essence of the Russian land in all its spiritual glory and they did so with technical mastery that put them on a par with their European contemporaries. The poetic, almost lyrical beauty in painting was new to Russian art, however it became the symbol of the soul of the Russian people that resonates with many of them even today. We will look at the work of Aivazovsky, Russia’s most famous marine painter, Ivan Shishkin known as the “Russian Singer of the Forests”, Kuindzhi, possibly the best colourist of all, Levitan, whose landscapes have a simplified, mystical beauty, Polenov, who captures the beauty of the Russian countryside with especial charm, Stavrasov, Myasoedov, and Ilya Repin, Russia’s greatest painter.

Wednesday 22 March 2017, 10.30 – 12.30, Winchester Discovery Centre
American Sublime: Landscape of the 19th Century
Illustrated seminar by Hendrika Foster

The genre of Landscape painting developed slowly in Europe from the 18th century. The landscape of America was not simply a new genre, much of it was an entirely new phenomenon of awesome beauty in the western art world. The vastness of the New World, the dramatic mountains, deserts, forests and lush agricultural lands were largely unknown to other Americans let alone Europeans. Artists were accused of exaggerating their colour palette as they portrayed a nature of such brilliance it would put a sunset by Claude or Turner into the shade. The vast images by Thomas Cole were dubbed ‘American Sublime’. This young immigrant from Lancashire would be seen as America’s first great landscape painter and founder member of the Hudson River School, who was followed by Frederic Church who extended his repertoire into South America. Scenes of the Mid-West are captured by George Caleb Bingham, whilst images of the untamed West are seen in the drawings of Albert Bierstadt during his travels, later used as a basis for his paintings. Winslow Homer, born in Boston, visited Paris and lived for a while near Newcastle in NE England. His powerful and at times enigmatic paintings capture his own personal visions of land and sea as a drama of the natural world.

Wednesday 29 March 2017, Visit to Beaulieu: Shell Heritage Art
Collection and Palace House

Travelling by coach to the New Forest, we will begin this visit with coffee and an introduction by the curator Nicky Balfour Penny to the Shell Heritage Art Collection of advertising media used by Shell, including postcards, posters, and Shell guides. This will include an opportunity to view work by some key artists – E. McKnight Kauffer, Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Paul Nash, Graham Sutherland – who provided images for advertisements encouraging the use of Shell oil and petrol. After lunch, there will be a guided tour of Palace House, during which we will explore its history from pre-Reformation times to the present, linking this with the portraits on display. There is also an exhibition of Russian art on site at the time of our visit and there should be time to view this as well as the Shell display in the museum during our time on site.
(Maximum number: 25)

Wednesday 5 April 2017, 1030 – 12.30, Winchester Discovery Centre
Industrial Landscapes Illustrated seminar by Diana Wooldridge

Landscape artists began to introduce elements of industry into their work from the early days of the industrial revolution in the 18th century. The talk will explore the development of industrial landscape art by focusing on the different motivations and styles of a wide range of landscape artists. This includes the early depictions representing both the picturesque and apocalyptic reactions to industrialisation, including Joseph Wright and Turner. The new role of industrialists as art patrons and commissioners will also be explored. During the nineteenth century a wide range of artists increasingly depicted industrial scenes as representations of modern life, in styles of realism and later impressionism and post impressionism, including Caillebotte and Utrillo in France, and the Camden Town Group in England. In the twentieth century new schools of futurism and socialist realism used industrial scenes as part of a political art agenda, while other British artists developed distinctive styles to portray the life of their local industrial landscapes (Lowry and also the Pitmen Painters). More recently artists have used the landscapes of declining industries as a new form of picturesque ruin such as Cornish mine chimneys, or a representation of social decay and depression. In recent years artists in the UK and other countries have gone full circle in apocalyptic paintings of the environmental damage resulting from heavy industry and fossil fuel power.

Wednesday 26 April 2017, Visit to the Watts Gallery and Limnerlease House, Compton

We will travel by coach to rural Surrey, where the Watts Gallery and its associated attractions offer a full day of interest. Following an
introductory talk on the exhibition Untold Stories, we will explore the exhibition and the permanent collection before hearing a talk from
Curator Claire Longworth on the De Morgan collection. After lunch, we will have a tour of Limnerlease House, home to G.F. Watts and his wife. There will then be free time to explore other parts of the site, includingWatts Studio, and the stunning Chapel designed by his wife.
(Maximum number: 25 )

Wednesday 3 May 2017, 1030 – 12.30, Winchester Discovery Centre
Land Art  Illustrated seminar by Beth Taylor (Followed by AGM)

Land art emerged as a movement in the late 1960s, as part of the desire to get away from the traditional art world and the gallery system. It was art made by using the raw materials of the landscape – earth, rocks, water, plants and trees. In America it was typified by the large scale works of artists like Michael Heizer, Walter Maria, and Robert Smithson, in the UK by the part action, part documentation work of artists like Richard Long and Andy Goldsworthy and the planted projects of David Nash. Other artists, like Robert Morris, Nancy Holt, Chris Drury and James Turrell have found inspiration in prehistory.
This return to nature and to the past use of the landscape came at a time of ecological debate and was (and is) an anti-industrial and anti-urban aesthetic movement. While a strictly defined Land Art is considered to have died out in the mid 1970s, artists continue to engage with the land into the 21st century, particularly through the exploration of the ephemeral and the handmade. Some of the works produced remain in place for viewers to experience, some are now displayed in the settings, galleries and sculpture parks, which the early landscape artists eschewed, some, like Richard Long’s walks, exist only by virtue of a written and photographic record. However
experienced, it remains a popular and engaging form of landscape art.

Wednesday 17 May 2017, 10.30 – 15.30, Winchester Discovery Centre
The Surrealist Landscape  Study Day led by Beth Taylor

In this study day, we will consider a range of works depicting the land, the sea and the cityscape by some well known and less well known artists linked to the Surrealist movement. A theoretical and political (Marxist) movement developed in France by Andre Breton and his group, Surrealism was applied to finding new ways of using chance and psychological experiences like trance and dream narration, in order to abandon conscious control of the process of artistic creation – whether literary or visual. By accessing the subconscious, and our dreams, it was argued that men and women would be closer to a more truthful understanding of the world.
The metaphysical works of Giorgio de Chirico were seen as early examples of providing insight into a different reality by the use of unexpected juxtapositions in his cityscapes, a form later used by Rene Magritte and Paul Delvaux. Andre Masson and Max Ernst produced works depicting the natural world of the forest and the sea using techniques which employed chance. Salvador Dali painted the shores and plains of Spain using a voluntary hallucinatory technique he named the ‘paranoiac-critical’ method. A number of British artists were associated with Surrealism: Paul Nash and Roland Penrose are perhaps the best known of this group. Their work will be considered along with that of Eileen Agar, Ithell Colquhoun, Leonora Carrington, Tristram Hillier and John Tunnard. The study day will give us an opportunity to find out about the techniques which were used by these artists to explore the marvellous and the uncanny, to point out some strange placements and shapes within the landscape itself, or to juxtapose elements in the landscape in a new way. In some cases we will contrast “traditional” landscapes, seascapes and cityscapes with the surrealist renditions and thus have an opportunity to discuss whether the inner vision – the alternative reality – of the surrealists has made us look at the art of the landscape and the landscape itself in a new way.

Monday 5 June – Friday 9 June 2017, WAHG Overseas Visit
(Details, including confirmation of dates, to be circulated separately)
Wednesday 14 June 2017, 1030 – 12.30, Winchester Discovery Centre
Nordic Art  Illustrated Seminar by Ann Clements

1880-1920 was an outstanding period in Scandinavian art. In all four Nordic countries many young avant-garde painters, rejecting established academic training, went to Paris. Inspired by the Barbizon painters in particular they joined artists’ colonies such as Grez-sur -Loing where the emphasis was on painting in the open air. Influenced too by the Impressionists their priorities were a lighter, brighter palette and above all truth to nature.
Returning home they sought out similar unspoiled areas and traditional communities. Artists of the Skagen group who gathered in northern
Denmark, such as Kroyer, the Archers, Zorn and Krogh demonstrate the diversity and richness of this period.