Nature and Industrialization in British and American Art

Curator Talk: Tim Barringer
Thursday, October 22 | 7–9 pm | FREE
Museum admission | 5-7 pm | FREE


Tim Barringer, co-curator of "The British Passion for Landscape: Masterpieces from National Museum Wales" and Yale art historian

Tim Barringer, co-curator of “The British Passion for Landscape: Masterpieces from National Museum Wales” and Yale art historian

The UMFA proudly welcomes guest lecturer Tim Barringer, co-curator of The British Passion for Landscape: Masterpieces from National Museum Wales, on view at the UMFA through December 13. As the Paul Mellon Professor of the History of Art at Yale University, Barringer specializes in the eighteenth-, nineteenth-, and twentieth-century art of Britain and the British Empire, nineteenth-century American and German art, and museum studies. His unique expertise and thought-provoking perspective will enrich visitors’ experience of this extraordinary exhibition.

Lionel Walden, Steelworks, Cardiff, at Night, 1895–97. Oil on canvas, 59 3/8 x 78 7/8 in. National Museum Wales (NMW A 2245). Courtesy American Federation of Arts.

Lionel Walden, Steelworks, Cardiff, at Night, 1895–97. Oil on canvas, 59 3/8 x 78 7/8 in. National Museum Wales (NMW A 2245). Courtesy American Federation of Arts.

The exhibition portrays the rich history of British landscape painting—from the Industrial Revolution, through the eras of romanticism, impressionism, and modernism, to the postmodern and post-industrial imagery of today—and includes magnificent works by masters such as J. M. W. Turner, John Constable, Thomas Gainsborough, Richard Wilson, and Claude Monet. Barringer’s presentation, “Nature and Industrialization in British and American Art,” defines six thematic sections of the exhibition:

  • Classical Visions and Picturesque Prospects
  • Turner and the Sublime
  • Picturing Modernity
  • Truth to Nature
  • Monet and Impressions of Britain
  • Neo-Romantic to Postmodern

The lecture begins with an exploration of William Blake’s characterization of “Innocence and Experience” as the “contrary states of the human soul.” Barringer chronicles the rise of landscape painting as a refuge and solace from the emerging modern world and exposes the artists’ struggle to portray the Industrial Revolution. He illuminates the interaction between British art and American painters such as Thomas Cole and Frederic Church, as well as the changing identity of landscape art in the twentieth century as environmental concerns gained momentum.

Thomas Jones, The Bard, 1774. Oil on canvas, 46 1/6 x 66 1/8 in. National Museum Wales (NMW A 85). Courtesy American Federation of Arts.

Thomas Jones, The Bard, 1774. Oil on canvas, 46 1/6 x 66 1/8 in. National Museum Wales (NMW A 85). Courtesy American Federation of Arts.

Don’t miss a unique opportunity to appreciate this exhibition from the curator’s perspective. Be sure to take advantage of his renowned scholarship during the Q&A following the lecture.

Exhibition catalogs are available for sale in the Museum Store! The catalog features Barringer's essay on the tradition of British landscape painting and its position within an increasingly industrialized society.

Exhibition catalogs are available for sale in the Museum Store! The catalog features Barringer’s essay on the tradition of British landscape painting and its position within an increasingly industrialized society.

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