Monday, January 3, 2011

Constable 8

Above is the sketch for Dedham lock and Mill. Constable probably did the sketch on location. I have found the drawing for this, for that is how the picture seemed to begin. It is in a new book called "Constable: The Great Landscapes" written by Sarah Cove, Anne Lyles and Charles Rhyne and published by the Tate gallery in London. So here I am again recommending expensive books. This really IS the Constable book to have theses days. It is full of beautiful illustrations of his paintings but most importantly an intelligent description of the working methods of the artists. If the link to Amazon is below.

Constable did a series of huge and important salon paintings to secure reputation and notice at the Royal Academy ( the painting above, is incidentally not one of them) The book is mostly focused on these blockbuster pictures and their preparatory studies.

I was painting in Paris a number of years ago and saw a Constable show in a museum just off the Champs-Elysees. The show was of the six footers as these big pictures are called and the full size sketches done for them. Oddly enough the show was curated by Lucian Freud, who did a good job. The drawings and studies and all that a painter would want to see to understand the making of these pictures were all grouped together. So I have had the good fortune to actually see a lot of the work that is in the book. I have also seen a great number of this drawings in a show at the Victoria and Albert in London. That is one of the places you hunt Constable, which I was doing. The Tate is of course another.

Constable made at least three versions of the Dedham Lock painting from this sketch and drawing. Tomorrow I will begin on the "great landscapes"


Darren said...

The V&A has a lot of his oil sketches as well.
And, they're releasing of book of them next month:
John Constable: Oil Sketches from the V&A

barbara b. land of boz said...

Happy new Year Stape!
I have truly enjoyed this series on Constable. So much so that I ordered "Constable: The Great Landscapes". Also the James Gurney book. I had some Christmas money burning a whole in my bookshelves.
Thank you Stapleton for another post that will give roots to my puns intended.

Plein Air Gal said...

Interesting that he would do several of exactly the same subject. Can't help but wonder if it was a subject that he just loved that much (as with Monet and his gardens) or if it's a case of doing it again because it didn't meet HIS expectations or vision of it and so HE needed to do it again? Probably a little of both, I suppose! Which, I think, is encouraging for us mere mortals!

billspaintingmn said...

The mood of the sky brings a sort of visual drama, in contrast with the calmness of the forground landscape. It's like the calm before the storm.

Debra Norton said...

I got to see the Crossing The Channel exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in 2003. I remember standing rooted, awestruck in front of Constable's 'The White Horse.' 'View on the Stour Near Dedham' was there too. Very humbling to stand in front of such work.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Yes I suppose I will need that! I have seen that collection, but it was long ago.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Happy New Year to you. I need new books too. It is an ongoing problem.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Plein air gal:
I am guessing he was working on different permutations of the same idea. Like the way modern artist like to makes series paintings.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I concur.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I went to school next door for a year once. I haven't been in the museum in a long time though.