The Tate’s collection of works by J W M Turner came to Adelaide. Rain, Steam and Speed: The Great Western Railway 1844 with its ludicrous train and hare is not in this collection, thank god, the picture that doubtless drove Dali, the consummate draftsman, to say “The worst painter in the world, from every point of view, without the foggiest hesitation or any possible doubt, is named Turner.”
This is harsh, considering JMW’s Lorrain-inspired Carthage paintings and some of the more inspired proto-impressionist swishes of colour but really, he never could draw and his vivid whites, yellows and blacks seem like a cheat’s cover to TVC. The varnish over Leonardo’s works, for example, oxidise and yellow as they age, so that replenishment and restoration is perennially required. But with Turner, corrosion enhances what he threw on the canvas. That’d be a concern. But the gallery was full and respectful. We suppressed our sniggers for the sake of public order. But better to have him than not.
*We note that Salisbury Museum in England is showing, till 27 September 2015, Turner’s Wessex: Architecture and Ambition. How neat to set JWM’s renderings in either fantasyland or a place that ceased to exist 11 centuries ago. No problems with accuracy there….