The Tate’s Gainsborough show (24 October-19 Janury 2003) promises to be the most comprehensive ever held on the artist. Loans are coming from far and wide, including Washington, Los Angeles and Melbourne, as well as many from private collections (below, William Wollaston 1758-59, on loan from Ipswich Museum.)
The curators have set out to present Gainsborough as more than a charming and engaging artist, but one who was vitally engaged with the society of his time.
From around 1760, art exhibitions become increasingly important in the British art scene, and Gainsborough took full advantage of the new opportunities to spread his reputation. This will be reflected in the Tate’s presentation of a spectacular series of full-length portraits and grand landscapes in one long gallery, recreating the impact they must have had on 18th-century art lovers. The exhibition is accompanied by a detailed catalogue by Gainsborough specialist Michael Rosenthal and Tate curator Martin Myrone. A symposium, “Gainsborough and the birth of Modernity”, will be held on 6 December. Early next year there is to be a parallel, but more modest, exhibition at Agnew’s, with loans from the Gainsborough House Museum in his home town of Sudbury (22 January-21 February 2003).
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'What's on: Gainsborough'