Canaletto to Constable: Paintings of Town and Country from the Yale Center for British Art

Friday, February 6, 1998
Sunday, April 26, 1998

The Yale Center for British Art was closed in 1998 for renovations. Portions of its collections traveled to different venues at this time, including the works featured in this exhibition, which appeared at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut.

Canaletto to Constable: Paintings of Town and Country surveyed the British landscape tradition from the early 1700s to the mid-1800s, tracing its development from imitations of Continental masters to the emergence of a celebrated national school. During this period, landscape paintings emerged from a genre of secondary status to high art accepted in its own right. This was matched by an increasing public fascination with native scenery. By the nineteenth century, as the British Empire approached the zenith of its power and influence, landscape painting replaced narrative history painting as the primary pictorial expression of national and social identity.

This selection of more than forty paintings presented images of eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century England, ranging from London cityscapes to picturesque country views. The exhibition included works by John

Thomas Gainsborough, Coastal Landscape with a Shepherd and His Flock (detail), between 1783 and 1784, oil on canvas, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection

Constable, Thomas Gainsborough, George Barret, Arthur Devis, Philippe-Jacques de Loutherbourg, George Morland, Samuel Scott, George Stubbs, John Wootton, Joseph Wright of Derby, and the Venetian painter Giovanni Antonio Canal (called Canaletto), who spent a decade in England during the mid-1700s.

In addition to an illustrated catalogue, the exhibition in Hartford was accompanied by a series of lectures and gallery talks.

Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford:
February 6–April 26, 1998